November 27, 2009
As we head into winter, we start thinking about the storms that go with the season. While there is no snow in our forecast for the foreseeable future, we can say for sure that past winters have brought huge snowstorms.
CBS19 Meteorologist Stacy Berman has seen more than her share of bad weather. To complete our "Making A List" series, Stacy profiles three of the worst winter storms the Charlottesville area has ever seen.
The first storm on our list is the blizzard of 1996. Snow began falling on the evening of January 6 and did not stop until January 8.
"It was the most snow I've seen in the 23 years that we've lived here. We've been through some pretty good storms, but that was by far and away the biggest. We measured somewhere in the 30-34 inch range," said Norm Carlson, of Snow's Garden Center.
At Snow's Garden Center in Charlottesville, the weight of the snow actually collapsed the greenhouse.
"The greenhouse we used for growing, we didn't think about putting heat in. The snow was so heavy that is actually collapsed the greenhouse. There was an inch-and-a-half steel pipes that bent in half under the weight of the snow," said Carlson.
The second storm on our list happened a little later in the season, March 13, 1993.
"That snow I think it was a fall of 12 or 13 inches, which is a big snow for us. There were problems of getting snow out of the way so that traffic could eventually get moving again," said Margaret O'Bryant, of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society.
The third and final storm on our list may not have racked up the most snow, but it was the impact and timing of the storm that made it memorable.
On October 10, 1979, the McCormick Observatory reported 3.3 inches of snow. This was, and still remains, the earliest snowfall to date in the Charlottesville area.
"The thing I remember about it is it wasn't a deep snow, but it was a wet snow with a lot of leaves off the trees. It looked like a tornado or hurricane came through here. Trees were down all over the place and people were without power, and so on like that. It was just a mess," said Fluvanna County resident, Harold Workman.
There you have it; the three biggest snow storms of recent memory to hit the Charlottesville area. We'll have to wait until the first snowflake falls to see if any storm this winter will top those mentioned in our list.
1) Blizzard of 1996 - 2+ feet of snow
2) March 13, 1993 - 12" of snow
3) October 10, 1979 - 3.3" of snow
Is there a particular storm that's etched in your memories? We would love to see your list of the biggest storms to ever hit our area. Leave us a comment and we may use it on air.
And don't forget to tune into the CBS19 News at 6pm to check out our list.