Environment Planet Earth The 11 Worst Blizzards in US History By Jenn Savedge Jenn Savedge Writer University of Strathclyde Ithaca College Jenn Savedge is an environmental author and lecturer. She’s a former national park ranger who has written three books on eco-friendly living Learn about our editorial process Updated January 22, 2020 Shay Murphy Photography / Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email Planet Earth Weather Outdoors Conservation It seems that every time a big snowstorm is in the forecast, the media hails it as "record-breaking" or "historic," in some way or another. But how do these storms truly match up to the worst storms to hit the United States? Take a look at some of the worst blizzards to ever hit U.S. soil. The Great Blizzard of 1888 Bettmann Archive / Getty Images This storm, which brought 40 to 50 inches of snow to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York took the lives of more than 400 people throughout the northeast. This is the highest death toll ever recorded for a winter storm in the U.S. The Great Blizzard buried houses, cars, and trains and was responsible for the sinking of 200 ships due to its fierce winds. The Great Appalachian Storm On November 24, 1950, a storm rolled over the Carolinas on its way to Ohio that brought with it heavy rains, winds, and snow. The storm brought as much as 57 inches of snow and was responsible for 353 deaths and became a case study later used to track and predict the weather. The Storm of the Century On March 12, 1993 — a storm that was both a blizzard and a cyclone wreaked havoc from Canada to Cuba. Labeled the "Storm of the Century," this snowstorm caused 318 deaths and $6.6 billion in damage. But thanks to a successful five-day warning from the National Weather Service, many lives were saved thanks to the preparations that some states were able to put into place prior to the storm. The White Hurricane This blizzard — most notable for its hurricane-force winds — is still the deadliest natural disaster to ever hit the Great Lakes region of the U.S. The storm hit on November 7, 1913, causing 250 deaths and packed winds sustained at over 60 miles per hour for almost twelve hours The Children's Blizzard This tragic storm occurred on January 12, 1888. While it packed only several inches of snow, this storm was most notable for the sudden and unexpected temperature drop that accompanied it. On what started as a warm day (by Dakota territory and Nebraska standards) of several degrees above freezing, temperatures instantly plummeted to a wind chill of minus 40. Children, who were sent home by the teachers because of the snow, were unprepared for the sudden cold. Two hundred thirty-five kids died that day trying to get home from school. The Blizzard of 1996 Barbara Alper / Getty Images More than 150 people died during this storm that hit the east coast of the U.S. from January 6 to 8 of 1996. The blizzard, and subsequent flooding, also caused $4.5 billion in property damages. The Armistice Day Blizzard On November 11, 1940 — what was then called Armistice Day — a strong snowstorm combined with fierce winds to create 20-foot snowdrifts across the Midwest. This storm was responsible for the deaths of 145 people and thousands of livestock. The Knickerbocker Storm Buyenlarge / Getty Images Over two days in late January 1922, nearly three feet of snow fell across Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. But it wasn't just the amount of snow that fell — it was the weight of the snow. It was a particularly heavy, wet snow that collapsed houses and roofs, including the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater, a popular venue in Washington D.C., which killed 98 people and injured 133. The Great Storm of 1975 Not only did this intense storm drop two feet of snow over the Midwest over four days in January 1975, but it also created 45 tornadoes. The snow and the tornadoes were responsible for the deaths of more than 60 people and property damage topping $63 million. The Great Blizzard of 1899 Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons This devastating snowstorm was notable for the amount of snow it produced — around 20 to 35 inches — as well as where it hit the hardest, i.e. Florida, Louisiana, and Washington D.C. These southern regions are not normally accustomed to such a large amount of snow and were thus even more overwhelmed by the snowy conditions. The Chicago Blizzard of 1967 Robert Abbott Sengstacke / Getty Images This storm dumped 23 inches of snow on northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana. The storm (which hit on January 26) wreaked havoc across metropolitan Chicago, leaving 800 Chicago Transit Authority buses and 50,000 automobiles abandoned all around the city.