In 1966 we saw the largest Christmas snowfall to hit Maine. A white Christmas, defined as at least one inch of snow on the ground, is anticipated by the locals. When Christmas is white, parents cuddle up by the fire with hot chocolate and the kids may play outside with their new winter toys.
Instead of leaving Maineans with a white Christmas, the Nor’easter that struck the state on December 23, 1966, left them coping with 20 to 30 inches of snow. One of the main issues during this blizzard was the high winds. Gusts of wind up to 70 mph were felt. Winds that consistently reached 30 to 40 mph persisted over the day.
This snowfall was not like any other. The bands got heavier and there was lightning and thunder. Less snow has accumulated along Maine’s coastline. But instead of snow, the coastal areas experienced freezing rain, sleet, and ice accumulations due to the freezing or below-freezing temperatures.
The greatest snowstorm of Christmas prevented people from leaving their houses. A lot of people were without heat because the electricity went out. Particularly in rural and smaller communities, streets were impassable.
During the day, the howling winds and rapidly falling snow were frightening. The snow started to accumulate around 5 p.m., and several regions received 4 inches of snow every hour until midnight. Thunder and lightning accompanied the snow bands that fell during the night. The people of Maine saw lightning streaks light up the night sky as they sat in their houses, wrapped in blankets, listening to the howling winds. The night was long and spooky in Maine. Even Rudolp’s red, blinking nose was unable to make room for Santa’s sleigh.
Winter Wonderland Conditions Created By The Storm
Together with the chilly winds and white, fluffy snow, a snowstorm also brings with it ice, sleet, and freezing rain. All of these winter factors combined to create a winter wonderland that spanned from Maine to coastal Virginia during the 1966 blizzard.
The first several hours were magnificent, with the ice and snow. But after 12 to 14 hours, the largest Christmas snowstorm turns the winter wonderland into a nightmare complete with broken power lines, disrupted phone service, and more.
When Winter Wonderlands Become Real-Life Horrors
When ice builds up on power lines, the weight of the ice causes the lines and the poles supporting them to shatter. Restoring power to every location may take several days or weeks.
Many people are unable to cook or heat their houses without electricity.
The weight of the snow and ice that builds up on residential and commercial rooftops eventually causes the roof to collapse.
Shops shut down. People need supplies, but there aren’t any since the store owners close.
People wait longer than usual for help in medical situations. Ambulances and first responders are kept away from individuals who require their assistance when there is a lot of snow.
You have kids waiting for a visit from Santa on this Christmas Eve.
When you go outdoors, you’ll need to secure a rope to your front door so that, once you’ve finished your tasks, you can navigate back inside.
As you are seated and hear the pipes bursting beneath your house and up your walls.
Maine residents were unprepared for the largest Christmas snowstorm ever. Most of the snowfall in Maine falls in January and February. When finances are less tight after Christmas, people wait to buy extra wood or heating oil.
Survival Advice for Blizzard
There can be instances when you are caught off guard by the weather, such as strong thunderstorms or blizzard conditions. It is advisable to plan as much as you can in advance and to keep yourself prepared in case of an emergency.
When the weather is favorable, get ready rather than waiting until the storm arrives.
Remain indoors and off the road.
Make sure you have a first aid kit and medical emergency bag ready. Stock the kit with bandages, prescription drugs, over-the-counter analgesics, antibiotic cream, scissors, and medical-grade gauze and tape. Restock the kit right away if you use it at all.
Store warm blankets in your car’s trunk.
You should always have non-perishable goods and canned food in your pantry. Additionally, stock your car’s trunk with enough nonperishable food to last a single day.
Install an automobile air horn.
You should keep multiple flashlights in your home and in your car. Flashlights run on batteries.
Candles to burn in the event of a blackout. Candles that run on batteries are safer for households with little children.
For every individual living in the house, have one gallon of water. It takes one gallon to last for a day.