Thursday, March 04, 2010
The Blizzard of 1971
Classic images of the Blizzard of 1971 in Montreal. My most vivid weather memories were of the small sidewalk plows like the one in the photo above and the scores of snowmobiles.
As we prepare to enjoy our first round of spring weather, my thoughts are on March 4, 1971, a day that I remember so well. I was only 5 years old when the largest blizzard in Montreal history slammed the city. I spent the day literally in the windowsill of our duplex on LaSalle Boulevard in Verdun watching the events unfold. We were right on the St. Lawrence River and the wind howled down that street. Little did I know that day would spark a lifelong passion in weather. It remains to this day the largest snowstorm to strike this city and parts of the province. The 24 hour snow totals were impressive with 47cm in Montreal and over 60cm in other parts of Quebec and Ontario. Drifts were over 6 feet high. That was just a small part of the story. This storm was an Atlantic nor'easter with the ferocity of a hurricane. The barometric pressure during the height of the storm dropped to 972mb or that of a Category 2 hurricane and winds gusted to over 120km/h in many parts of the St. Lawrence Valley including 110km/h at then Dorval Airport. I spent the day in the window watching snowmobiles go back and forth in the zero visibility for hours rescuing motorists and delivering people to area hospitals. Roads were closed including the 401 and 20 and power was out to thousands of Hydro customers.
I found some photos from a news report by Radio Canada and posted them on this entry.
Here is another link to find out much more on the Blizzard of 1971.