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The worst death toll in the United States for a winter storm occurred in The Great Blizzard of 1888 in the Northeast. Over March 11–14, the blizzard dropped up to 58 inches (147 cm) of snow in parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and high winds piled up snowdrifts as tall as 50 feet (15 m). It blocked roads and wiped out telephone, telegraph, and rail service, and people were stuck in their homes for a week or more. The storm was responsible for over 400 deaths, 200 in New York alone, and 200 ships were grounded or sank.
New York City
The weather had been unusually mild over the previous few days, with highs in the 50s (10º+ C), and people were expecting an early Spring. The weather forecast from the U.S. Signal Corp was: “Fresh-to-brisk winds, with rain and fair weather throughout the Atlantic states.” On March 11, heavy rains came through, and quickly turned to snow as the temperature dropped.
Shortly after the damage resulting from the storm was repaired, New York and other cities started putting their telegraph wires and other infrastructure underground, and Boston created the first underground subway system a few years later, with New York City doing so as well, partly in response to the massive storm and the gridlock it created.
Every time we get a big snowstorm here in Connecticut, we tend to look back and say, "Well, at least it wasn't as bad as