of Cortland County's Past
digs out after its first real snowfall of the year, parents often launch into
stories about the storms of yesterday. The old adage of “When I was your
age…” comes up frequently. But, which generation has the ultimate bragging
who were around in 1914 may have a claim. On Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in
1914 the temperature in
suddenly dropped. The cold front brought with it nearly 36 inches of snow, with
gusting winds creating drifts as high as ten feet. With limited snow plows
travel was certainly difficult. Those who remember this storm are now few and
far between. They may remember it fondly, however they do not get to brag that
it was the worst storm in
1961 a storm dropped 40 inches on
, only to be outdone five years later in 1966 when 45 inches fell the weekend of
Feb. 1. Starting on a Sunday and lasting for several days, motorists were stuck
on all major highways, including routes 81, 281 and 13.
workers were called in to help the county plow the roads, and drivers had to be
careful of cars stuck or abandoned on the side of the road, completely buried
under drifting snow.
“ski-mobile” was used to evacuate a snow-bound family near Blodgett Mills.
Dryden snow plows were reported to have made two trips to assist expectant
mothers in reaching
storm of ’66 also affected the local dairy industry. Some farmers were forced
to dump their milk because milk trucks were not making pick-ups or drop-offs.
According to a 1966 Cortland Standard article by Skip Chapman, the Saltest Milk
Plan in Homer reported that for several days fewer than 40 of 148 producers had
delivered raw milk to the plant.
Skip was there to report on the blizzard of ’66, that is not the storm he
remembers most vividly. In true “When I was your age…” fashion, Skip spoke
of another blizzard on New Years Eve in 1960, when a storm barreled through
that still jogs his memory.
remember, because that was the first date I ever had with my wife,” Skip said.
The new couple had planned an evening at the Homer American Legion’s New
Year’s Party. “We went out and the weather was fine. When we came home the
in Homer was knee deep.”
Nature often focuses her attention north of
in areas like
and the Tug Hill Plateau. However, she took out her fury on
in March of 1993 – the snowiest day in Cortland County History. According to
the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University, the Blizzard of
’93 is the all-time winner, dropping 34 inches of snow in a mere 24 hours.
this point there is no National Weather Service center in
. Stations in
and Cincinnatus are no longer active, ceasing operations in 2001.
blizzard of ’93 just doesn’t seem to register with me,” Skip said.
“Maybe because I’ve been through so many of them.”
Blizzard of ’93 was the first true blizzard that I can remember. Growing up at
Franks Corners in Virgil my brother and I jumped from the roof of our home into
giant snow drifts. My father helped us dig out what seemed like a cavernous snow
fort, and at times the wind would hold you up, no matter how hard you were
trying to fall over.
storms may have eventually dropped more snow, but those 24 hours made for the
snowiest day in
recorded history. Now that I am a father, I will be able to tell my son,
“When I was your age…”
Do you have a story to tell about
history? Share it with us by sending it to Jeremy Boylan, Cortland County
46 Greenbush St.
, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.