1950s |

Storm of The Century Hits Eastern U.S. - 11/26/1950

On this day in 1950, a heavy storm tagged "storm of the century" hits the Eastern United States causing heavy rains and significant winds that destroyed properties worth millions of dollars and claiming the lives of more than 300 while over 160 people were injured. Called the "Appalachian Storm," it deposited a large amount of snow in the western slopes of the mountain chain.

The storm hovered over North Carolina before Thanksgiving Day but later moved upward north hitting western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia, making these regions covered with a few feet of snow for several days and making traveling impossible for almost a week in some part of the states.

In New York, a wind gust of 94 miles per hour (151 km/h) was recorded, while additional cyclone covered other parts of the city. The storm caused havoc across New York as part of the city was flooded and there was a power shortage. Towards the north of the city, at Bear Mountain, 140 miles per hour windblast was recorded. Throughout New England, the storm came in a hurricane-like manner. High tides and wind-driven surf hit the coastline, while low temperatures were recorded in Tennessee and North Carolina. In Mount Mitchell, North Carolina, an all-time low record was set at temperature of 26 degrees below zero.

Expert believed that the storm was special, because not only did it include hurricane-force winds and heavy snow, but also it recorded high and low temperatures. For example, 30 inches of snow fell in what can be called a striking snowstorm in Pittsburgh, while up in the north, no snow or snowstorm was recorded in Buffalo, except a 50 mile-per-hour winds and 50-degree temperatures that was experienced. Weather Channel Expert, Paul Kocin, said that the storm had the greatest difference of weather elements most likely in any storm, including the 1993 March Superstorm."

The hurricane-force wind was responsible for more than 300 lives over several days. In addition, insurance firms in the U.S. paid out more money to their clients for damages resulting from the extreme weather than any other previous storms or hurricane. "The storm of the century" is regarded as one out of the seventeen storms to be ranked as a category 5 or extreme under the Regional Snowfall Index scale. 

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Mark Hinderberg


Retired History Professor at Vanderbilt University. Love taking a portal through time and sharing my knowledge with anyone else who loves reading about history. It is my passion and my greatest hobby.