The Great Blizzard of 1888

On this date March 11, back in 1888, “The Great Blizzard” aka “the Great White Hurricane” hit New York City eventually dumping more than 20 inches of snow in three days.

The storm was one of the worst blizzards in the history of the United States with winds of up to 70 miles per hour. It paralyzed the East Coast from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine as well as the Atlantic provinces of Canada.

More than 400 people died (approximately 200 in NYC). Property loss in the Big Apple from fire alone was estimated at $25 million (equivalent to $660 million in 2017).

So many telegraph wires were down that NYC was unable to communicate with the rest of the world. To prevent such disruptions in the future, bankers and financiers organized and helped government transition to an underground wire system.

This incredible weather event is the reason why today there are no cable lines over the streets of NYC.

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