The Blizzard of 1996 – 25 Years

A quarter century ago this week we were hit with the biggest blizzard on record for the area. Snow started falling on January 6th 1996 and stopped on the 8th. Parts of Berks County recorded 34 inches of snow, but the raging winds caused major drifts which made the snow pile up to 100 inches high in certain areas. The weight of the snow proved to be a problem on rooves as there were many collapses in commercial and residential buildings alike. Boscov’s North had a heating unit cave in through their roof and onto the toy section of the store on Jan 8th around 9pm. Luckily there were no injuries.

Blizzard of 1996
Front page of the January 8th, 1996 Reading Eagle – Blizzard of 1996

Another smaller storm hit us while we were still reeling from the Blizzard; 6-10 more inches fell on Berks on January 12th. Besides a dusting at the very end of January, this would be the last snowfall of the entire 1995-1996 winter season.

Things warmed up shortly after the immense amount of snow fell, and along with torrential rain caused quick melt which resulted in considerable flooding all over the Mid-Atlantic.

Blizzard of 1996
Front page Reading Eagle Jan 9th 1996 – Blizzard of 1996

The only winter storm since the Blizzard of 1996 that has come close in terms of snowfall totals occurred in January of 2016. That snowstorm started on Jan 22nd and ceased precipitation on the 23rd. Snowfall totals for that 2016 storm across Berks were between 22-30 inches.

Above is the home video experience as my family lived it in our home near Fritztown, just outside of Sinking Spring. Narrated and filmed by my Dad, guest starring yours truly. It took two full days to get plowed out and school was canceled for over a week. What do you remember about the Blizzard of 1996?

Born and raised in Berks, I am fascinated by the style, design & culture of the mid-late 20th century. I started this website to research and build a collection of the places, things and stories I have heard about my entire life. Read more here.

6 Replies to “The Blizzard of 1996 – 25 Years”

  1. How well I remember, I worked at Arrow International(Wyomissing)at the time. The supervisor of Human Resources said to everyone that was employed there, that there was absolutely no excuse for people not to be able to get to work, even though the governor of Pennsylvania declared a snow emergency. The people that lived in the city of Reading could not get their cars out, as there was no where to put the snow. Only after this manager attempted to drive through the city streets, did he change his mind. It was mind boggling.

  2. I just watched my home movies of the same thing! Just a couple years older than you 🙂 Wonderful memories for a kid!

  3. I live in Harrisburg PA. The national weather said on Friday before the storm it would not hit us.Early Saturday morning all my wether radio’s were going off ,issuing winter storm warnings!

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