This Friday, April 1, will mark the 25th anniversary of the great April Fool’s Day blizzard of 1997.
As often is the case when a major storm strikes, the forecasters had not predicted the extreme severity of the storm.
We recall going to bed that night of March 31 and preparing to go to work the next day, only to wake up to discover that Mother Nature had dumped more than two feet (25.4 inches was the official total at Logan Airport) of heavy, wet snow on our area, making it the fourth-largest snowstorm in Boston history, exceeded only by the 27.5 inches in the President’s Day blizzard of 2003; the 27.1 inches in the famous Blizzard of ‘78; and the 26.3 inches in the blizzard of February, 1969.
The storm was the biggest on record in the month of April and made April 1997 Boston’s snowiest April ever, nearly doubling the previous record of 13.3 inches. It also set a record for Boston’s greatest 24-hour snowfall in April.
We vividly recall waking up to the wonder of that morning. “Are we still dreaming?” was our first thought when we opened our front door, only to be greeted by a huge drift of snow that had been driven by winds that reached 70-90 miles per hour in many areas.
Ironically, that winter had been fairly uneventful (there had been only 26 inches of snow in total that winter season).
Although the storm essentially paralyzed the Boston area for that entire day, it was not a particularly dangerous storm. We recall a lot of downed tree limbs that were laden with the heavy, wet snow, which in turn brought down power lines in some places. The only deaths were the result of heart attacks by persons trying to shovel the heavy snow. In addition, there was no coastal flooding.
Our overall memory of the blizzard is the picture in our mind’s eye of a Winter Wonderland amidst temperatures that reached the 50s by mid-day.
It was a joyful event, an unexpected day off from work (and back then, the internet was still barely a thing, so no one worked remotely). We took our young children sledding and walked around the neighborhood with our Golden Retriever, Jake, who loved the snow.
Yes, it was a ferocious, record-breaking storm. But for us, we always will have only warm memories of the April Fool’s Day Blizzard of 1997, a particular point in time when we, and our now-adult children, were 25 years younger.