Sunday, March 03, 2013

March 3-5, 1971 vs December 2012 in Montreal

Remembering 1971
Today is the 42nd anniversary of the start of the great Montreal blizzard of 1971. I have written plenty in the past about this particular day and what it means to me from a personal perspective. You can read what I wrote on the 39th anniversary by clicking on the red link above.
Above: The struggle to get home begins on March 4, 1971. The blizzard of 1971 dumped 43cm of snow on Montreal in under 24 hours with hurricane force winds and 6 foot drifts all over the province. Over 50cm fell during the 2 day storm. Nearly 20 fatalities occurred as a result of the storm. Roads were closed and thousands stranded downtown. Power was out for days in many parts of the province.
(Photo from
What I will mention today is what long time CJAD traffic reporter Rick Leckner had to say on the morning after we broke the 1971 record this past December 27, 2012. He noted that the only comparison between 1971 and 2012 were in the quantities of snow, 45cm (2012) in 24 hours vs 43cm (1971). The comparison stopped there. On the morning after the big storm, March 5, 1971 he took the CJAD 800 helicopter up for a look at the carnage left on Montreal and southern Quebec highways. What he saw was abandoned cars everywhere and one lane down the center of most highways, nothing more. There were huge drifts of snow blocking highways all over the city. On the morning after this past December's storm, people were travelling to work on black top at 100km/h with no delays to speak of. The 1971 storm stands alone, we have yet to match it, I will let you know if and when we do. The only storm that came close was the March 13, 1993 east coast super storm, but it happened on a weekend lessening the impact.

We are approaching the 20th anniversary of that storm, I will have much more to say on that in a later entry.
You can also read what I wrote for the 40th anniversary of the 71 blizzard HERE

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