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Monday, September 01, 2014

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Don't have a meltdown. Westport's seen a lot more snow before

Published 3:16 pm, Wednesday, February 19, 2014

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  • Snow piled high on Main Street in front of Taylor and Richards Grocery store after the blizzard of 1888. Photo: Westport Historical Society / Westport News contributed
    Snow piled high on Main Street in front of Taylor and Richards Grocery store after the blizzard of 1888. Photo: Westport Historical Society

 

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It's been a snowy winter, for sure. With overall accumulation for the season topping 50 inches so far, the storms have caused cancellations, expenses and miseries of all sorts.

But consider this: In 1888 when there were no weather forecasters and no early warnings about major storms, let alone doppler radar that can pinpoint exactly where just about every snow flake is falling, Westport and the rest of the Northeast was buried by an unheralded blizzard.

That's right, they had no warning. When it began to snow March 11 of that year, people had no idea what they were in store for, especially when the storm continued for another three days. Total snowfall amounts varied across the state -- ranging from 35 to 50 inches.

Published accounts at the time reported the snow was whipped by wind gusts, some exceeding 70 miles per hour. About 400 people across the nation's Northeast died as a result of the storm, according to reports. Some, who ventured out in the storm, were caught up in drifts that buried them.

Photos from the Westport Historical Society archives show sledders on huge snow piles in front of Taylor and Richards Grocery on Main Street following the 1888 blizzard, and the snow that inundated the Westport Train Station and tracks.

The society also has photos of the 1934 blizzard, another major snow event, that hit this area. There's no accounts of the date or duration of the weather event.

However, photos show that blizzard also dropped several feet of snow on the environs, bringing everyday life to a halt.

Two photos taken in front of Greenberg's department store, also on Main Street, show several people standing atop a towering pile of snow.

And lest we not forget, the blizzard that walloped Westport only a year ago left 3 to 4 feet of snow in its wake.