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The Blizzard of 1934

From the TVHS archives

The blizzard of 1934 was reported, at the time, to be Long Island’s worst snow storm since the famous blizzard of 1888. According to the Friday, February 23, 1934 issue of the Port Jefferson Times-Echo “Northern Brookhaven township was still struggling today to extricate itself from Monday night’s blizzard. Digging their way with shovels through drifts as deep as twelve feet, where huge snow plows and tractors failed to go through, employees of the town highway department have succeeded in making some progress in clearing the main streets in north shore communities.”

Digging out in front of Ruhland’s Garage, 1934

Even today when a storm is predicted how many of us have experienced a run on bread, milk and eggs? In 1934 with chain stores unable to get supplies from their warehouses it’s reported they purchased bread from local sources and sold it at inflated prices, milk was at a premium, and stores ran out of shovels. Mail delivery resumed on Wednesday where possible. The paper reports “Women who ventured on the streets attired themselves in men’s trousers and availed themselves of the use of hip-boots wherever they could be secured.”

Ice Pack, West Meadow Beach

With schools closed and transportation nearly impossible, a local medical emergency could not wait. “Suffering severely from an acute appendicitis attack. Miss Kathryn Combs of Setauket was rushed to Mather Memorial Hospital, Port Jefferson Station on a sled towed by a tractor on Tuesday night. The trip was taken after it was deemed urgent that she undergo an operation. The three-mile trip through snow drifts and some untraveled highways was fraught with danger, but was completed successfully. Miss Combs was operated on Tuesday night and her condition is satisfactory,” reports the Port Jefferson newspaper.

Kate Strong at Weather Station

An article in the March 2 issue of the Port Jefferson Times-Echo reports “Blizzard of ’34 No Equal for Storm of ’88, Setauket Records Reveal.” The information on the snowfall was provided by Miss Kate Strong, of Strong’s Neck, whose family had operated a weather station there for the US Weather Bureau since 1885. According to Miss Strong’s data “The snowfall on the night of Feb. 19 measured 18.3 inches and the fall of the night of the 25th and all day the 26th measured 11.3 inches, making a total of 29.6 inches. In the blizzard of ’88 30 inches fell, or 0.4 of an inch more than the present storms. Miss Strong’s record also shows that the drifts were 15ft. high between their home and the barns and what ordinarily was an easy walk of 5 minutes took half an hour.”

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1 Comment

This storm of 1934 was massive. The newspaper reports made it real. Just imagine a drift of 15’ - it would be as high as the roof on my ranch one level house.

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