It is hard to believe it has been 30 years since the Blizzard of ’93 impacted the Tennessee Valley. This event was known as the “Storm of the Century” due to its large scale and widespread recording breaking snowfall. A strong low-pressure system developed along the Gulf Coast before pushing northward into Alabama. Although this was a fast-moving system, it led to significant impacts on the area.
There were at least 14 fatalities related to this storm, six of which were related to individuals abandoning their vehicles. The cost of damage was estimated to be around 100 million dollars. Behind this storm, record-breaking cold air was ushered into the region.
Snowfall across the Tennessee Valley ranged from around an inch to over a foot of snow. The highest snow totals were seen in the eastern portions of the area; this is where the heaviest of the snow bands set up. Valley Head where just over 18 inches fell. Many other locations in northeastern Alabama saw half a foot to a foot of snowfall.
The snow that fell was heavy and wet type and the weight of it led to many issues across the area. Power lines and trees fell due to the weight. This knocked out power to thousands and at the height of the storm over 400,000 thousand were without power. Roofs of homes were damaged and some even collapsed under the weight of the snow. The weight and the strong wind gust, over 50 mph, aided in the damage that was reported across the Tennessee Valley.
Along with the record-breaking snowfall, the region experienced bitterly cold temperatures. The combination of clear skies, calm winds, and the snowpack dropped temperatures into the single digits and in some locations, it was below zero! These temperatures were around 35 degrees below average. Those record low temperatures and record minimum high temperatures still remain today; 2023.
You can find more information on the Blizzard from the National Weather Service here.