1918 Ohio Statewide Blizzard
This storm was compared to the New Years Blizzard of 1864 and was not matched in Ohio until the Blizzard of 1978. The Blizzard of 1918 came during a winter of bitter cold and deep snow in the Heartland. It was referred to as an “old-fashioned winter” for the way it resembled the winters of the nineteenth century. The low pressure area that became the Blizzard of 1918 moved out of coastal sections of Texas late on January 10 while arctic high pressure was building southward with extremely cold air from Canada. The Texas low strengthened rapidly as it crossed Ohio and gale-force winds pulled the arctic air across the region in its wake. As the blizzard arrived, temperatures fell from 30 degrees to -15 degrees in eight hours. Winds averaged 30 to 50 mph all day and gusted over 60 mph. This was the coldest day in memory for Ohioans.
New snowfall was reported to be 10 to 15 inches but drifts of 10 to 15 feet covered houses, vehicles, and trains. Churches opened their doors to the poor and others who did not have coal for home heat. Trains were halted across the state as were most urban streetcars. Passengers on a train stalled near Washington Court House were brought into town on sleds to prevent their freezing to death. Coal supplies were scarce in Ohio and throughout the eastern United States. The stoppages of rail traffic halted coal deliveries while the extreme cold created record demands for coal.
- Schmidlin, Thomas W. and Schmidlin, Jeanne A. Thunder in the Heartland: A Chronicle of Outstanding Weather Events in Ohio. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1996.