Pat Shingleton: "January and Winter Storms..."
A blizzard is a storm with sustained winds of 35 m.p.h. for three hours and blowing snow reducing visibilities to a quarter mile. One of the worst winter storms to hit United States occurred on January 13, in 1888. From the Great Plains to Texas, temperatures dropped, winds howled and snow fell as 235 perished in snowdrifts. Many bodies were not found until the spring thaw. Later that same year on March 12th, the Great White Hurricane slammed the East Coast, lasting three days. The storm unloaded 50 inches of snow in Massachusetts with 50 foot snow drifts from Maryland to Canada. The storm sank 200 ships and killed 400, including 100 seamen. It is considered the worst blizzard in United States history. January is recognized as an extraordinary month for weather systems. On January 14, 2009, a storm system sent gusty winds to New York with light snow showers. On the following day, calm, cold weather was reported. Due to de-icing delays in Pittsburgh, US Airways Flight 1549 left LaGuardia Airport at 3:25 p.m. bound for Charlotte. Less than 2 minutes after takeoff, at an altitude of 2,900 feet, a flock of Canadian geese struck the aircraft knocking-out both engines and sending the 150,000 pound Airbus A320 into a glide. The plane was descending over the Bronx at 1,000 feet per minute and the plane’s Captain made a decision never before performed – ditching in the Hudson River. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles safely off-loaded their passengers in 35 degrees and a wind chill value of 11.
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