March 13th, 2008


Storm of the Century

15 years ago right now...

The weekend of March 13, 1993, the "Storm of the Century" blew through the eastern half of the country. All of Pennsylvania, all of West Virginia, all but the coastal areas of New England, and even parts of Alabama and Georgia got at least a foot of snow; many cities were shut down well into the next week from a storm that started on a Saturday morning or earlier; and the wind and pressure set all sorts of national records for non-tropical storms -- in the middle of March. Most people around here think of winter as essentially over by now (notwithstanding craziness like last April 15th's storm), but 1993 was the evidence that even in mid-March the craziness isn't over. And that was the first real snow around here in the 1992-1993 winter, too.

Really, the amazing thing about the storm was its sheer size. The damn thing covered the whole US east coast at once, and if you didn't know better, you'd swear it was the biggest hurricane ever.

I was 12 years old that winter. I was already a few years into caring about current events, already having a favorite newspaper columnist and news radio anchor. But I never got as into a news story as I did with this storm. I saved newspapers. I took pictures of the snow. Hell, I took pictures of the newspaper. I also played with the neighbor's black lab on my lawn, I stuck my ruler into the snow so you could just see the top of it, and I just sat around and stayed warm until I had to go back to school on the 17th.

I thought it was the biggest storm I'd see in my life. But I wasn't even close.

Where were you?