Are you wishing for a white Christmas? As I write this, Syracuse is still waiting to see our first snow of the year.
In Nebraska we usually have snow by late November.
However, the weatherman has promised us some snow this evening, though it probably won’t be much.. It is odd that we look forward to the first snow of the season, or that we hope for a white Christmas when we consider how much damage and suffering a snow storm can cause.
Remember the Halloween storm several years ago?
At the time I was living half a block from Arbor Lodge State Park and all night long we heard what sounded like the booming of a cannon, but it turned out to be some of the many stately trees in the park crashing to the ground.
We went without electricity  for several days and were so grateful for our wood-burning fireplace.
We lived like true pioneers  since the fireplace provided the only heat for warmth and cooking.
Travelers caught in the storm had to depend on the kindness of strangers for shelter.
Halloween was officially canceled that year because it wasn’t safe for little ghosts and goblins to be outside.
We all learned about the School Children’s Storm of 1888 that went down in Nebraska History as causing the death of so many children in the Midwest.
I had assumed that this was the worst place to be when these storms hit, but that isn’t true. It is the eastern states that get the worst of these winter storms. I also assumed  that, when we described a storm as a blizzard, it meant an unusual amount of heavy snow but that is also not true. We can have a blizzard when no snow is falling at all.
A ground blizzard is when the snow already on the ground is whipped up by powerful winds and causes a white-out and huge drifts. Therefore, a true blizzard is when snow is accompanied by gale force winds.
A snow storm not accompanied by strong winds of more than 35 miles an hour is just a snow storm.
Usually a real blizzard has deep drifts, blowing snow, white-outs and lots of back-breaking shoveling after the wind subsides.
I decided to see how many real blizzards our country has had that wreaked havoc and destruction and were so bad that they were recorded in history by a special name. I found more than ten, but the one that intrigued me most was the one referred to as the “White Hurricane.”
This particular blizzard is also known as a Super Storm or the Storm of the Century. It happened in 1993 and continued to rage from March 11 to March 15, finally making its way into the North Atlantic Ocean where it dissipated.
 Meteorologists knew it was going to be historic as they tracked it by satellite from as far north as Canada to as far south as Honduras in Central America.
Snow depths ranged from as little as six inches in some states to 60 inches in Le Conte, Tenn., where drifts were more than 35 feet high. It wasn’t the snow that was the biggest problem, though. It was the wind.
This particular storm hit the southern states and Cuba the hardest. The winds were considered of hurricane force, reaching as high as 130 miles an hour in Cuba, thus the name “White Hurricane.” Tornadoes spawned in Florida killed  five people when their roof collapsed on them and several others drowned in a storm surge in the big bend area of Florida.
Freighters off the coast of Fort Meyers sank and ten million households were without power, some for as long as three weeks.
All in all, this super-storm resulted in a total of 208 fatalities and all eastern airports, bus depots, and highways being closed down for several days.
There have been other snow storms and blizzards that have been record-breakers, both in damage done and in lives lost, but this particular storm was so unusual because of the amount of territory it covered as well as the fact that it seemed to combine two storms into one and it affected so much of the southern states, which usually do not experience winter storms.