KNOXVILLE - While many of us are thinking spring in early March, winter will make a return this weekend.
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Several inches of heavy, wet snow is possible in East Tennessee on Saturday night, and the thoughts of longtime residents can't help but return to another March, when the snow started falling, and falling, and falling.....
The storm was forecast several days in advance, with predictions of a foot of snow across the area. Most folks didn't think it would happen. But it did!
It was called the Storm of the Century by many, and anyone who lived through it will never forget the Blizzard of 1993--- the biggest snowfall most people can ever remember in our area.
The snow started falling on March 12, 1993, and continued most of the next day. The heavy, wet flakes quickly accumulated, with Knoxville officially recording 15 inches. Many surrounding areas got much more, including the Great Smoky Mountains, where up to five feet was measured in some places. Mt. LeConte was buried under 60 inches of snow.
Life pretty much ground to a halt in East Tennessee, with road crews unable to keep even the main thoroughfares clear for long as the snow fell. In the days that followed, high drifts lined the roadways as plows and shovels did their work, and many residents learned for the first time the fun of digging out driveways and sidewalks. Mountains of snow lingered for weeks in parking lots and fields around town, where it was piled in efforts to clear the roads.
The storm stranded hikers in the Smokies, knocked out power to thousands for days, and confined people to their homes for much longer than expected. In this case, the wisest people did stock up on milk, bread, and other essentials at the grocery store before the snow started!
Emergency crews worked to help people in need, and even the military was called in to use helicopters to drop food and supplies to secluded homes.
In addition to record snowfall in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, the storm also brought extremely high winds and unseasonably cold air across the south, even into Florida.
"In terms of human impact, the Superstorm of 1993 was more significant than most landfalling hurricanes or tornado outbreaks and ranks among the deadliest and most costly weather events of the 20th century," according to the National Weather Service.
WBIR Chief Meteorologist Todd Howell said it was basically a winter hurricane--- and East Tennessee was in the eye of the storm.
We don't have to worry about any of that this weekend, but it's a good time to think back to where you spent the Blizzard of 93.
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