Big Joe remembers the blizzard of ’96
When I hear the words nor’easter or blizzard I get a little squeamish. We’re pretty tough here in New Jersey and when we get reports that a nor’easter is coming most New Jerseyans laugh at the news and say “It’ll probably be nothing.”
This past nor’easter this week dumped a few inches of snow and rain here in the Garden State and the winds, typical of all good nor’easters, were prominent up and down the Shore. I live at the shore and the winds at times were gusting to over 60 miles per hour and, true to form, certainly had the sound of a freight train coming through your living room at a high rate of speed, whistle a blowing!
The concern of power outages and temperatures hovering around freezing drew a concern for safety. This week the nor’easter somewhat behaved itself for us here in New Jersey. Those poor people in sections of upstate New York got slammed with high winds and 40 inches of snow. Ouch!
The mention of nor’easters reminds me of the great storm in January of 1996 in what some meteorologists called a superstorm. The '96 superstorm had a recipe of both a nor’easter and blizzard wrapped up in a nice package that dumped close to 40 inches of snow here in New Jersey with wicked winds hitting in some areas over 70 mph. Plus, flooding happened up and down the shore.
I lived in Sea Bright at the time and it was surreal as the wind blew snow drifts in my condo parking lot over 30 feet in height. They called for a mandatory evacuation for Sea Bright and my good friends at the National Guard came and got me out of the condo and took me to the radio station I was working at which was in Long Branch. I was on the air for two days straight as only a couple of radio employees could manipulate their way to the station.
While the storm lasted a few hours, it seemed like it went on for days. The streets were baron with leftover wind gusts whipping the snow over what looked like a frozen tundra. A dozen or so deaths were attributed to the storm, mail delivery was suspended the Turnpike was closed, this superstorm shut things down.
I remember saying in January of 1996 that we’ll never see another storm like that again. Little did I know Superstorm Sandy would rear her ugly head in October of 2012. Never under estimate the powerful force of Mother Nature. Stay safe this winter.
NJ's first big snow of 2020