March 15-18, 1892 a historic snowstorm hit the southern & a good chunk of the eastern U.S. In its wake, teens occurred as far south as Arkansas to Alabama. 17″ of snow fell on March 17 at Nashville, Tennessee with a 21.8″ total for the storm March 16-17.
Measurable snow fell as far south as southern Alabama, near Mobile. A trace of snow was reported near San Antonio, Texas. Atlanta saw 0.3″ snow.
The surface storm hugged the Gulf Coast, then reformed & rode up the Eastern Seaboard with up to 33″ of snow over the Interior Highlands of the Mid-Atlantic & Northeast.
Here over the Tri-State:
12″ Mt. Carmel
8.3″ Old Shawneetown
March 1843 remains as one of the strangest, most anomalous months in weather history for the Tri-State & all areas east of the Rockies.
The 1842-43 was extremely harsh with heavy snow & significant cold waves from the Plains to the South to the Ohio Valley to the Northeast. However, January turned very mild, giving the false impression that the worst of the extreme winter was finished. January was one of the warmest of record for the Ohio Valley, eastern U.S. A tornado hit western Pennslyvania in January.
Over the Tri-State, it was the coldest, snowiest winter since 1835-36 & it wouldn’t be nearly as bad until the 1851-52 winter.
Part of the mild stretch in January:
St. Louis, Missouri data January 18-31
22 62/48 0.19″
23 60/47 0.01″
27 43/32 0.02″
31 19/7 0.09″ “Snow-High Winds. Cold.”
Bitter cold February-March was intense. However, March was incredibly cold. Temperatures were as low as the single digits deep into the southern U.S. in mid- to late-March.
The highest temperature of the entire month at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas was still 10 degrees below normal! The temperature dropped below 0 in northern Arkansas & Little Rock dropped into the single digits. Teens occurred all the way to northern Florida. The temperature never got above freezing at Fort Snelling (Minneapolis) & it dropped below 0 on 22 of the 31 days (Min temp…………in March!
Much of the central & eastern U.S. was colder than February & much, much colder than January! Mean temperatures for the month were as much as 30 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL from Iowa to North Dakota & 20-25 degrees below normal from the Ohio Valley to Oklahoma to Michigan. Mean deviations were 10 degrees to northern Florida. Only April 1857 was even close to such extreme deviations from normal. March 2012 was a bit similar the other way, but as amazingly warmth as that month was (it was by far the warmest March on record for the Tri-State back to 1850), the mean deviations were “only” 15-20 degrees Iowa to North Dakota & 10-15 degrees for the Tri-State. In the southern U.S. they were around 10 degrees above the normal mean temperature for the entire month.
March 1872 & 1960 were known for snow & very cold weather, but nothing has ever compared to 1843 since.
There were theories that Earth passing through the tail of a comet was behind the abnormal weather. The comet was widely visible during the cold March. Other scientists theorized it was volcanic dust blocking sunlight that caused the extreme weather (volcanic eruptions likely contributed to the 1835-36 cold). Patchy frost occurred as far south as central Indiana in July & August of 1842 & temperatures fell to 40-45 in those two months locally. However, the 1841-42 winter was very mild & spring was very early & WARM in 1842 from the Ohio Valley to the Northern Plains.
At Minneapolis, June 1842 saw only 8 of the 30 days reach 70, after 83 on May 9. April was nearly the same mean temperature as June! June 10 saw snow flurries at Cleveland. Nearly every night June 5-19 reached 30s, low 40s at Minneapolis. June 10-11 saw up to 6″ snow in New England. 41 was recorded on July 5 at Minneapolis, but 30s in north-central Indiana, Ohio.
Mt. Erebus over Antarctica had a major eruption in 1841, while Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1842. Pinatubo brought the cold 1992 summer after erupting in 1991, while Tambora brought the “Year Without a Summer” in 1816. The Krakatoa eruption in 1883 led to extreme winters in the 1884-1887 period.
Three snowstorms brought historic snowfall to the southern U.S. March 16-25.
The first storm brought: