The '62 storm: Wild, and white

In weather lore, the great coastal storm of 1962 became known as the "Ash Wednesday Storm."

Wednesday, March 7, actually was Day Two of that siege, which began ferociously on Fat Tuesday, the day of the worst winds, according to the Coast Guard log that was kept at the Long Beach Island station.

As we noted in our Sunday story, the storm was blamed for killing 22 and ripping apart the Jersey Shore.

But if most Philadelphians were unaware that history was unfolding at the Shore, that’s understandable, since they had their own distractions.

The ’62 nor’easter was quite a snowstorm. In Philadelphia, fitful, heavy snow accumulated 6.8 inches -- and that was at the airport.

The temperature that day never dropped below 32 at the airport, evidence that the snowfall was powerfully heavy.

To accumulate, it had to battle the March sun, which actually came out for awhile that day. One thing the snow had going for it was cold ground. That was an extremely cold first week of March, with the temperature hitting 10 on the 4th.

In the Virginia mountains, the 42 inches at Big Meadows set a record, later broken.

Along the coast, snow was not an issue; everything else was.

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