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Wednesday, April 25 News

History shows us, Fairfield has endured a lot worse winters

As they woke up to yet more snow Tuesday morning, many Fairfielders may have been feeling disheartened. They pulled on their boots and gloves and headed out to fire up the snowblower or wield a shovel, and they were probably asking themselves, among the more printable questions, "Where do I put all this snow?"

It's a legitimate question.

Since last Dec. 10, when the first snowfall of the season totalled a mere 2 inches, the town has been blanketed by an overall accumulation of more than 53 inches. Sometimes, a storm deposited just an inch or 2, or 6, and at least one time up to a foot.

But it pales in comparison to the Great White Blizzard of 1888. With no weather satellites to the nation's Northeast fair warning, town residents were enjoying unreasonably mild temperatures for March 10 that year, along with some heavy rain. That changed dramatically within hours, according to news accounts, as the temperatures plummeted and a nor'easter moved in just after midnight March 12. That rain turned into snow, whipped by winds reportedly gusting up to 60 to 70 mph.

The storm paralyzed the Northeast coast, leaving 400 dead in its wake, and snowfall in Connecticut measured anywhere from 36 to 50 inches. There was a report of a snow drift in Cheshire that measured 38 feet high -- yes, feet, not inches.

There were no train "delays" because train transportation was completely shut down, as some photos of the storm show. The Fairfield Museum and History Center provided the Fairfield Citizen with those photos from the 1888 storm and another major blizzard that buried the town in 1934.