Salisbury MD

Remembering the President’s Day Blizzard of 1979…40 years and a week later.

presidents day blizzareSometimes the most vivid memories in our lives are reinforced by weather events.  Today, for me, is one such day as my father passed away on this date in 1979.

If you were around on Delmarva in February of 1979 you know that we were struck by a surprise blizzard rivaled by few in our history.  Snow began falling on Sunday evening, the 18th.  I remember that detail because it was my wife’s birthday and the last time I saw my father alive.  By Monday morning, the snow had become mixed with rain and was forecast to subside.

Without warning, however, the winds from the developing nor’easter picked up off the coast, the rain changed back to a heavy snow, and life on Delmarva literally came to a stop.  Snow drifts on routes 13 and 50 made roads impassable leading to an eerie calm that lasted for days.  Schools and businesses were closed as a result of what has come to be know as the President’s Day Blizzard of 1979.

record snowAs often happens after a winter snow storm, the winds eventually turned to a more southwesterly direction, warmer air rushed in, and the thaw began.

blizzardBy the following weekend we were drenched by soaking rains that helped melt away all of the snow leaving a muddy wake in our paths.  It was on Saturday evening, the 24th, that I received word of my father’s death.  The memory of his death will forever be entwined with the remarkable weather that we experienced that February.  It was difficult to believe that we could go from 2 feet of snow at the beginning of the week to absolutely nothing on the ground when we later buried my father on the 28th.

With those vivid memories in mind here is a look at today’s forecast.  Rain will end by the afternoon with temperatures soaring into the 60’s under breezy conditions.  Monday will be considerably cooler, with highs in the mid 40’s and windy conditions.

Please be aware that the winds could be extremely high late this afternoon and again tomorrow morning.


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