Nor’easter of another name

There was a name for it – the rapidly developing snowstorm that brought the southeast a rare winter event, one more common for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. My family and friends to the north will get their turn: the weather system named Snowstorm Grayson barreled up the coast, and morphed into a “bomb cyclone”.  The NPR article on this storm and the phenomenon “bombogenesis” is a good overview.

Here in Awendaw, I shoveled snow for the first time. The storm’s impact on the southeast helped me recall a memorable ordeal from my youth in a similar storm. Here is an excerpt from a 2013 post (if you missed this piece where I discussed storms including Hurricane Hugo and Superstorm Sandy, the full post was Storm Education). 

One of the great adventures from my college years was a camping trip to the Outer Banks in February of 1973. We planned to camp in the dunes of Hatteras Island, though on the way to the coast we heard a radio report of inches of snow in Charleston S.C. It sounded ludicrous, and we didn’t believe it. We arrived on Hatteras, and when we walked out on a path through the dunes at night we realized that the gale force winds would blow our tent away. We sought shelter at Nags Head, and chose to sleep on the downwind side of the porch at our friend’s beachfront cottage. It was a wild night, and when we awoke after sunrise found snow drifting around our sleeping bags. The storm continued to rage, and we heard reports of several cottages washing into the ocean via the storm surf. It was time to retreat, and we began our drive back to Chapel HIll. What we did not know was that this storm had hit eastern North Carolina with the biggest snowstorm in memory. Our 6 hour standard trip stretched out to 12, and somehow but once again my old reliable ’65 Chevrolet Impala “The Green Pig” got us home safely.

After all these years, I found an interesting report about the historic storm:   The Great Southeastern Snowstorm: February 9-11, 1973. I had heard several stories over the years about the impact in SC, but the above report gives the full extent of the snowstorm that we had experienced in North Carolina. I just saw the rankings of the highest recorded snowfalls in Charleston, and yesterday’s accumulation was #3. #1 was the December 1989 “the Hugo snow”, and #2 was the above mentioned February 1973 snowstorm. While the snow ended yesterday, it appears that the Arctic air will maintain its grip on the Lowcountry (and much of the country) through the weekend. Without travel necessities, and without loss of power, I have been most grateful for the opportunities to explore the local winter wonderland on foot. 

 

10 thoughts on “Nor’easter of another name

  1. I wasn’t around for the ’73 snow but I do have memories from the “Hugo snow” of ’89. I remember the Romain Retreat pond froze over and while you and Mom kept us close and warned of the ice cracking, our dog Spike ventured out for a little paw skating. Sorry to miss the Charleston snow of 2018! Glad you guys have remained with power and the house looks beautiful in the snow!

    • So that was Spike who was skating on the pond. I’m just back from a walk-around and noticed the pond was frozen (though not thick enough for skating), and ice caked out on the marsh edges. Waiting for someone to coin a phrase for this Lowcountry snow event.

  2. Bob,
    I enjoy your articles so much. Please keep them coming.
    Is there any we your readers can do to support you?
    Thank you,
    Amanda

  3. Bob,
    I DO seem to remember that ’73 trip to the OBX! My sleeping bag was pushed to its limit that night! Thanks for the memories!

    See you in April,
    Mike

    • We were clueless – no weather apps (nevertheless weather reports checked), no sleeping pads, no sense. Great adventure, and the mother of all return trips from the Banks. Fortunate we weren’t there with tents pitched prior to the nor’easter hitting.

  4. Bob,
    So much for global warming! We will be down in Myrtle Beach in August and I’ll bring down my snow blower for you, hi!

    The temperature is zero here in Pennsylvania right now and I’ve shoveled and salted the driveway three times already.

    The Sun is going to sleep and will bring a 30 year cold snap from what I have been reading. Being a ham radio operator I can tell you the sun is very quite right now with few to little sun spots. Can you say Maunder Minimum?
    Get used to it!

    Ron

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