Pat Shingleton: "A Big One and The First Report..."
"The storm paralyzed the entire Northeast, immobilizing everyone. New York and D.C. were cut-off from the rest of the country. Albany picked up 47 inches of snow and Troy, NY, recorded 55 inches. Trains inbound and outbound of New York City were foundered in drifted snow, paralyzing the rail system. Ferry crossings were rendered impossible as the Brooklyn Bridge became Manhattan's last link with the outside world. Ice floes, wedged together on the East River formed a tenuous crossing. The tide went out, the ice broke, leaving 100 trapped on the floes..." These were excerpts from the "Old Farmer's Almanac, Acts of God" concerning the blizzard of 1888 where meteorologists claimed a storm this size occured once every four hundred years. Another item...Sources for weather information are numerous, not the case 138 years ago and on this date in 1871 when the first official U.S. Weather Forecast was issued. The “new” service was launched from the Signal Office under the auspices of the War Department. Excited about the new service, The New York Times posted for the first time in their headline: “Official Weather Predictions.” The means in which the Signal Office dispensed their first forecast included observer-sergeants positioned around the country. Housed in the War Department and structured under the Chief Signal Officer, the Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce was officially responsible for “the announcement by signal and telegraphing the approach and force of storms.”
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