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The "knickerbocker Storm" January 1922

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Exactly 150 years after the "Washington and Jefferson Storm" which dropped 3 feet of snow on the region, came the deepest snow of this century to the greater Washington and Baltimore region. The snow came on the heels of a cold spell. High temperatures did not climb above freezing from the 24 through the 28th and the low temperature dipped to 11�F on the 26th. Snow began at 4:30 p.m. on the 27th and continued until just past midnight on the morning of the 29th. A record 21 inches fell in a 24 hour period on the 28th. The heavy band of snow stretched across Richmond (19 inches), Washington, DC (28 inches), and Baltimore (25 inches) immobilizing the region. Strong north to northeast winds accompanied the storm drifting snow into deep banks. Roads were blocked. Main highways were the first to open in 2 to 4 days.

On the evening of the 28th, the weight of the snow became too much for the Knickerbocker Theater on 18th Street and Columbia in Northwest Washington, DC. The horrible scene was described in the Washington Post on January 29th and 30th and was reprinted in the Post on January 19, 1996 following another big snow. They described it as "the greatest disaster in Washington's History". The theater was cramped with an estimated 900 movie goers. The roof of the theater collapsed taking the balcony down with it and crushing 98 people below to death and injuring another 158. People were

pulled from the rubble for hours and bodies were pulled out for days. A small boy squeezed into small holes and between crumbled cement slabs to give those injured and trapped pain pills. From this disaster, the storm is known historically as the

"Knickerbocker Storm".http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/Historic_Events/StormsOfCentury.html

Video of Knickerbocker Theater disaster.

Photos courtesy NOAA National Weather Service Collection.

Weather charts courtesy NOAA Central Library Data Imaging Project


Edited by weather ship

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