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Photograph: @pictures_of_newyork

See incredible photos of the six worst blizzards in NYC

Take a look back at the most catastrophic snowstorms ever recorded in New York

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Tolly Wright
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

Snowstorms and blizzards are typically part of winter here in New York City, whether we like it or not. Except for last year, that is, when we saw nary a flake. For this year, however, the Farmer's Almanac expects a lot of snow, slush and ice

When it starts falling, there's nothing to do but enjoy a mug of the best hot chocolate or get cozy in a bar with a fireplace. And once the worst has passed, it's time to enjoy the snow day—those park hills won't sled themselves. Sometimes we get more than we bargained for. Over the course of history, we've gotten sometimes up to two feet of the white stuff. 

Check out the worst blizzards in NYC, ranked by how much snow was measured in Manhattan: 

Biggest snowstorms in NYC

1. February 12, 2006

The North American Blizzard of 2006 hit East Coast cities from Baltimore to Boston with enough winter weather to cancel school for days, but few places got more than the Big Apple. A full 26.9 inches dumped on NYC, the highest snowfall ever counted by government records.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/ skidder

2. January 23-24, 2016

Winter Storm Jonas, Snowzilla, whatever other hashtags you decided to use—the January 2016 blizzard was enough of a monster to force 11 governors and the Washington, D.C., mayor to call a state of emergency leading up to the storm. Travel was banned in New York and New Jersey for two days, and 26.8 inches fell in the city, just a tenth of an inch short of the record.  

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/ mytummytalkstome

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/ deshaunicus

3. December 26, 1947

A white Christmas might be a dream, but this Boxing Day storm was a nightmare. The Great Blizzard of 1947 left many people stranded with diminished food supplies and no coal for heat for days, and it killed 77 people. A then-record 26.4 inches was measured in Central Park. 

New York Public Library/Digital Collection/Max Henry Hubacher

New York Public Library/Digital Collection/Max Henry Hubacher

4. March 11-14, 1888

Known as The Great White Hurricane, the blizzard of 1888 affected towns from as far south as the Chesapeake Bay to the northern reaches of Maine. Railways and telegraph lines went down in the storm as 50-foot snowdrifts forced people to stay inside their homes. While some areas received a full 60 inches, New York City got off more mildly with a still-devastating 22 inches.


5. February 25, 2010

February 2010 was a busy time for snow in the Mid-Atlantic region. Earlier in the month, Snowmaggedon crippled Washington, D.C., and Maryland, but there was just a sprinkling in New York. Then, on February 25, Gotham got its own Snowicane, a nor’easter that dropped 20.9 inches on our fair city.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/ sackerman519

6. January 7-8, 1996

Millennials who grew up in the Mid-Atlantic region probably remember this storm as the perfect snow week, as schools were closed for several days in the Blizzard of 1996’s aftermath. Though New York City proper suffered a whopping 20.2 inches, commuters living in nearby burbs were slammed with up to 30 inches. 

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/ leolondon

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