The 300th Anniversary of the Great Colonial Snowcover of 1717

Watts Up With That?

The recent nor’easter (blizzard to some) here in New England reminded me that I better get moving on a post here about the 300th anniversary of what was likely the deepest snow cover in these parts in the past 400 years or so, and probably a lot longer. I suspect that, like fish stories, this tale has grown taller over the decades. Also, New England forests have made a comeback, and I think several references refer to drifted over houses built near the edge of pastures. Still, it’s clear that claims about the present weather becoming increasingly extreme don’t look back to events like 1717, more recent events in the 1930s, or “The Storm of the Century” in March 1993, which devastated Cuba and the eastern US.

There are many contemporary accounts of the 1716/1717 winter, but they all seem to derive from a complex ancestry of earlier…

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