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c. 1888

Let it snow…but maybe not this much

Think the weather is bad now? Take a look at these photos from the Great White Hurricane of 1888

A lone person walks across the Brooklyn Bridge after the blizzard of 1888.

The Blizzard of 1888, known as the “Great White Hurricane,” came not in the depths of winter, but in the start of spring. The blizzard started the night of March 12th and lasted some 36 hours, depositing five feet of snow which accumulated into drifts more than 50 feet high.

For New Yorkers, transport on the roads and by train was utterly curtailed.  A week later, some people were still unable to leave their homes. Buildings with three stories were engulfed.

More than 400 individuals lost their lives. 100 sailors alone were killed as a result of the some 200 ships that were wrecked.

But the Great White Hurricane left one positive legacy. With surface transport rendered impossible, the city authorities instigated the building of a subway.

A lone person walks across the Brooklyn Bridge after a blizzard left the bridge and tracks covered in snow.
Wallace G. Levison/Dahlstrom Collection/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Snow covers a street and blows against a row of apartment houses surrounding Trinity Church.
Clifford H. Jordan/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
Wires and poles fallen due to the blizzard.
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Downtown Manhattan.
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Snow piled up in front of a store.
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Workers dig out the snow from underneath an elevated train line.
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Carts haul snow and ice, cleared from city streets, to the river for dumping in the East River in New York.
Buyenlarge/Getty Images
Dumping snow and ice in the East River.
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The snow-covered exterior of the Grand Opera House at Elm Place and Fulton St.
Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Downtown at 1:30 p.m. on Park Row as people and horse-drawn vehicles struggle to make their way through the snow, as seen from the foot path of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
A women on a brownstone-lined street sweeps the sidewalk near where two horse-drawn buggies are parked, Brooklyn.
George B. Brainerd/Dahlstrom Collection/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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