Columbus and Central Ohio Weather

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Thirty years ago, a great blizzard in the middle of March enveloped the Eastern Seaboard, as snow pivoted west over Ohio.

The Blizzard of ’93, referred to as the “Storm of the Century” along the Eastern Seaboard produced prodigious snowfalls, accompanied by hurricane-force winds gusts and bitter cold, which shut down transportation and closed schools for days.

A storm that was initially supposed to brush central Ohio with several inches of snow and strong winds was so mammoth in scope that heavy snow bands, with high winds, expanded across the eastern half of Ohio on Saturday afternoon, March 13, 1993.

Four inches of snow blanketed parts of the Florida Panhandle, as the storm developed in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on, March 12. Eleven tornadoes raked the Florida Peninsula early on the 13th, with winds gusts in excess of 100 mph.

Nearly three feet of snow piled up in the mountains in northern Georgia, and 17 inches fell near Birmingham, Ala., as low pressure intensified rapidly, moving northward along the Atlantic Coast.

Light snow began falling on Friday evening, Mar. 12, across the Buckeye State. Snowfall rates increased Saturday afternoon across central and eastern Ohio. Columbus received 5 inches of snow, accompanied by wind gusts reaching 41 mph, and up to 50 mph in the eastern counties, creating blizzard conditions.

The snow dpeth reached 20 inches at Newport in Washington County, and 19.5 inches at Marietta, in southeastern Ohio. On the West Virginia side of the Ohio River, National Weather Service offices at Parkersburg (20.3 inches) and Huntington (22.6 inches) had historic snowfalls. (The previous heaviest snowfall at Huntington, W.V. was 20.9 inches on Nov. 24-29, 1950.)

The top snowfall was 56 inches at Mount Le Conte, Tennessee. Pittsburgh was buried under 25.2 inches of snow, and three to four feet fell in the highest elevations of the Appalachians.

NOAA/National Centers For Environmental Information

A mid-March cold wave followed the storm, with readings plunging into the single digits on the mornings of March 14-15, with a few locations in northern Ohio dipping below zero.