A strong nor’easter that brought nine inches of snow, almost three inches of sleet and 35 mph NE winds to New York City on January 19, 1936

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Dear Tom,

I’ve been reading a fascinating book about the Roosevelt family, “The Wars Of The Roosevelts.” On January 19, 1936, a blizzard hit New York and thunder was apparently heard, but the Weather Bureau said they never heard of thunder in a snowstorm. Is that possible they never heard of it?  

Jim O’Connor 

Dear Jim,

Though rare, thunderstorm does occur and certainly was known to most meteorologists in the 1930s. It’s possible that the meteorologist questioned was uninformed. The referenced storm was a strong nor’easter that brought nine inches of snow to New York City, followed by nearly three inches of sleet, all accompanied by gusty northeast winds to 35 mph. Streetcars were stuck in the streets, a result of frozen switches. The New York Times headlined “Thunder Heard as Snow Flies Here”, and “The Beauty and the Bother of the Snow…”

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