The region’s extreme freezes
It’s hard to put weather in perspective. One region’s “Snowpocalypse” can be another part of the country’s everyday winter weather. Snowstorms that hit the East Coast are often highly publicized, but some storms in this densely populated region are more memorable than others — case in point: Winter Storm Jonas, which is pictured here.
While making this list, we considered total snowfall and the area the storm covered, as well as other factors, like prolonged low temperatures and the population affected.
The biggest snowstorms are the ones that shut down entire swaths of the area — the ones that close airports, shutter businesses and keep the kids at home from school, often for days (or weeks) on end.
Without further ado, here are seven of the biggest snowstorms to hit the East Coast.
Winter Storm Jonas in 2016
Fueled by the 2014-16 El Nino event, Winter Storm Jonas broke several snowfall records, cancelled more than 10,000 flights and, in the end, affected about 85 million people.
An average of 20 inches of snow fell across a wide swath of the Appalachian Mountains and the Mid-Atlantic coast, and both Baltimore, Maryland and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, broke snowfall records. The maximum amount of record snowfall came from Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where a whopping 40.5 inches was measured.
While massive snowstorms have a tendency to disrupt work weeks, snowfall from Jonas began hitting the Mid-Atlantic on a Friday — convenient timing that likely made the storm less catastrophic. With schools preemptively cancelled and a sizable chunk of the region’s workforce out of the office and off for the next two days, fewer people were out braving the roads. It also meant that the following day, a Saturday, made for the perfect snow day with few obligations.