(WHTM) — Thirty years ago this month, a massive storm system hit most of the eastern seaboard in 1993.
The Storm of the Century, which to many is also known as the Superstorm, was a large and extremely intense storm system that affected the east coast from March 12 to March 15, 1993.
Here in the Midstate, some locations saw two to three feet of snow. According to the National Weather Service in State College, 27.5 inches fell from the pre-dawn hours of Saturday, March 13 into the morning of Sunday, March 14.
The storm began as a low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico and strengthened as it moved northward. The system rapidly intensified as it crossed the Gulf as the water added fuel to the system. The system made its “landfall” along the Florida panhandle just after midnight on March 13.
When the system made this landfall, a squall line of thunderstorms formed south of the low and impacted Florida during the early morning hours of March 13. The line produced damaging winds and 11 tornadoes in Florida. Strong onshore winds also caused a storm surge up to 12 feet high in some locations. In the end, 44 people died in Florida due to the storm.
The storm continued to travel inland across Georgia and encountered cold air across many of the southern inland states. Heavy snow and blizzard conditions developed from Alabama and went all the way into Virginia.
By the early afternoon of March 13, the storm was racing towards the northeast and into the Midstate.
The NWS states that the Coast Guard rescued more than 160 people at sea in the Atlantic and in the Gulf of Mexico and another 48 people were reported missing at sea.
The National Weather Service in State College measured 27.5 inches of snow that fell during the predawn hours of March 13 into the day on March 14.
The storm affected over 100 million people, killed 318 people, and caused an estimated $5.5 billion (or $11.3 billion in 2023) in damage up and down the east coast.
The storm has been classified as a Category 5, or extreme, storm on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale. The 1993 superstorm is the highest-ranked system on the scale, with the blizzard of January 1996 being second. Those two systems are the only ones rated extreme on the scale.