On January 30th and 31st 1982, a 1-in-70 year snow event occurred from the eastern Ozarks to central Illinois with the heaviest axis of snow blanketing St. Louis, Missouri. The snow began during the evening of January 30th, a Saturday, and ended during the afternoon of Sunday, January 31st.
If you were here back then, you remember it. The weather forecasters were still saying 2-3 inches at about the time you could go outside and see there was already 8-9 and scratch your head in confusion about what the forecasters were smoking. Over 20 inches in spots by the time it ended.
I had turned 13 a little over a week before.
It’s snowing outside right now. I doubt it will approach 20 inches. They’re only predicting 8. But they were only predicting 2-3 that night 26 years ago.
Apparently however, despite the accumulation, it wasn’t a blizzard. (“What the heck was it?” I hear a few people ask.)
For a blizzard to have occurred, the following conditions must have prevailed for a period of 3 or more consecutive hours:
- Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater, and
- Considerable falling and/or b>lowing snow that reduces visibility frequently to less than 1/4 mile.
The second of those two requirements happened. The first one did not. It was just a snowstorm.