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25 Years Ago, April Fools' Day Blizzard Buried Massachusetts In Historic Snowstorm

BOSTON (CBS) - Twenty five years ago today, what were you doing? Were you in New England? If so, than you surely remember, perhaps even have a story about March 31 and April 1, 1997. It was the great April Fools' Day Blizzard.

Shelby Scott was reporting live in Worcester. Barry Burbank was calling for a "massive storm." How could this be? Many wondered if it was all a cruel April Fools' joke. Temperatures had been in the 50s and 60s for the prior five days and Boston had a high of 63 degrees that Sunday, which also happened to be Easter. Yet, here was Barry, already a veteran forecaster on WBZ-TV, calling for an epic snowstorm. And boy was he right!

The snow came in like a wall during the evening of March 31. Three inches per hour snowfall rates were common throughout the night. Boston received a foot of snow in four hours, between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. By dawn on April Fools morning, 2-to-3 feet of snow blanketed the region. Trees snapped under the weight of the heavy wet snow, power lines were down across Massachusetts. Nearly 700,000 homes and businesses lost power in the Northeast and many were left stranded at the airport for days.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

The official total at Logan Airport was 25.4 inches which still stands as the fourth biggest snowstorm on record for the city of Boston. The city also broke its 24-hour snowfall record dating back to the Blizzard of 1978!

In Worcester, a ridiculous 33.0" of snow fell, the most ever in a single storm in their history (later to be topped in 2015).

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Despite the huge piles and drifts of snow, it didn't stick around long at all. In fact, most of it was gone within a week. The days following the blizzard had highs in the 50s and on April 7th, Boston hit a whopping 75 degrees!

The blizzard remains our greatest April snowstorm ever recorded. The only other instance of anything close came in April of 1982 when Boston received 13.3 inches.

Twenty five years is a long time and memories are fading but, whether you remember it or not, the April Fools' Storm will always serve as a reminder that anything is possible when it comes to weather here in New England.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ


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