Crippling storm of March 25-26, 1970

Dear Tom,
I remember walking to school in March 1970 in one of the heaviest, wettest snows I’ve ever experienced. Can you help with the details?
–Zoila Berling, Bakersfield, Calif.

Dear Zoila,
Our recent encounter with heavy, wet snow was tame compared to the crippling storm that hit the city March 25-26, 1970. The official snowfall at Midway Airport was 14.3 inches, with a water equivalent of 1.76 inches, making the snow-to-water ratio a sopping 8-1. The storm was accompanied by thunder and lightning and fierce northeast winds that piled the snow into 3- and 4-foot drifts. The snow was so heavy it caused considerable damage to trees, shrubs and power lines. Vehicles could not navigate the snow-clogged streets and hundreds of cars stalled or were abandoned. With the visibility near zero, the city’s airports were forced to shut down, stranding thousands of passengers.

Portions of Scotland also buried in snow

Thanks to our frequent blog contributor Mark Vogan who passed along this shots of a snowbound Scotland. The photos were taken after a 36 hour period of heavy windblown snow. Winds of gale force piled the snow into drifts 2-5 feet high and even up to 10 feet in some areas.

Mark notes that while some areas got as much as 14 inches, areas as close as 15 minutes away got no snow at all with an elevation difference of less than 1,000 feet. Many areas in Scotland above 1500 feet have received as much as 2 feet of snow from this storm with severe blowing and drifting.

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Photos by Mark Vogan