March 13 – Anniversary of the Blizzard of 1993

Truck in the snow on Highway 27 at Taylor’s Ridge – Photo Credit: The Summerville News

Twenty-eight years ago Chattooga County was waking up to over two feet of snow, downed trees and power lines and power outages as the “Blizzard of ’93” wrecked havoc across the South.

The day before the snow began to fall, flowers were blooming and temperatures were warm.  But moisture brewing in the Gulf of Mexico and cold arctic air plunging towards the South combined to produce a historic snowfall event – one that hasn’t been repeated in almost three decades.

At the time, Chattooga County was ill prepared to deal with the amount of snow that fell but County Commissioner Jim Parker and Sheriff Ralph Kellett sprang into action to provide relief to county residents.  Chattooga County had an ace in the hole; former Chattooga County Sheriff Gary McConnell had just a couple of years prior been appointed the head of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency by Governor Zell Miller.  McConnell coordinated the state’s response to the blizzard with emergency supplies and equipment.

At least three Chattooga County residents lost their lives as a result of the storm. In all, fifteen people in Georgia died.

The Blizzard of ’93 broke snow-depth records within three days in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland. The total estimated damage in the U.S. was $5.5 billion with over $355 million of damage in Georgia.