Will Blizzard 2015 break the snowfall record in NYC and Boston?

The Blizzard of 2015 has the Northeast hunkering down for a 'historic' storm. Where will it stack up against the biggest winter storms that have hit Boston and New York?

Mike Segar/Reuters
A woman covers her face from heavy falling snow as she makes her way through Times Square in New York January 26. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for New York City and surrounding areas beginning 1 p.m. EST on Monday, and warned of two days of winter storms across the East Coast, from Pennsylvania to Maine.

A major winter storm is coming, with terms such as "historic" and "bombogenesis" being bandied about by politicians and newscasters.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned his citizens, “This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city."  "My message for New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have ever seen before,” according to USA Today. 

The Weather Channel has predicted that many areas in the storm's path could see more than two feet of snow. And estimated 29 million Americans from New Jersey to Maine are under a blizzard warning and 50 million could see a foot or more of snow, according to the BBC.

Now the two biggest cities in the storm's crosshairs – Boston and New York – are taking numerous safety measures to reduce chaos from the storm. Boston has announced that Logan Airport will be shutdown to all coming and going domestic traffic at 7:30 p.m. Monday, according to the Boston Globe.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York was considering a statewide travel ban that would go into effect at 11 p.m., according to the New York Times. Mayor de Blasio has already ordered everyone off the road inside the city by 11 p.m. Monday night.  Connecticut will institute a 9 p.m. travel ban and Massachusetts has called a Monday midnight travel ban, according to the same New York Times report 

Handling major snowfall in a metropolitan city is always a logistical nightmare, but since New York is much larger than Boston, a major storm there impacts a greater population of people.

Historically, Boston’s blizzards have dropped slightly more snow compared to New York’s but not by a significant margin. Combining the precipitation history between the two cities’ and one would observe that two of the last five monster snow storms to hit either city have occurred in the last 12 years.   

Will this be the biggest snowfall in history of these two cities? Only time will tell but here is some the competition the Blizzard of 2015 is up against with the biggest snowfalls on record for Boston and New York.

Boston and New York Record Snowfalls over the Years:

  1. Boston - 27.5 inches Feb. 2003: A President’s Day blizzard dropped more than two feet of snow on the city. Final measurement fluctuated between 27.5 and 27.6 inches because of measurements taken at both Boston Common and Logan Airport, according to the BBC.
  2. Boston - 27.1 inches Feb. 1978: The infamous, “Blizzard of ‘78,” that destroyed hundreds of homes and caused some coastal areas to flood, according to WBUR. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the storm caused $500 million in damage in Massachusetts alone. It came on the heels of another blizzard that had left 21 inches on the ground just in time for the second blizzard to hit.
  3. New York - 26.9 inches in Feb. 2006:  The record snowfall from one storm in New York. At points during the storm three to five inches of snow fell per hour, according to the New York Times. It paralyzed traffic in the city and only major arteries were able to be opened by public works crews in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
  4. New York - 26.4 inches in Dec. 1947: “The Great Blizzard of 1947,” held the Big Apple’s snowfall record for 59 years before the 2006 storm knocked it off its pedestal. The blizzard killed 77 people, according to AOL.   
  5. Boston - 26.3 inches in Feb. 1969: The storm hovered over the city for multiple days and left more than two feet of the white stuff. According to the Boston Globe, the snow fell for 101 consecutive hours and may have contributed to the deaths of 94 people.
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