This week has seen some very cold weather, and a fair bit of snow, up here in Massachusetts. It is nothing particularly out of the ordinary, as winter up here is usually cold and snowy. But it made wonder – what is the worst storm that Massachusetts has gotten?

Probably, there were worse storms going back far into the history of Massachusetts, but the North American blizzard of 2003, also known as the 2003 Presidents’ Day Storm, is the worst which modern meteorology has recorded. This storm affected not only Massachusetts, but most of the entire East Coast as well as much of the Midwest and parts of Canada. The storm formed over the Rockies, and gradually moved east across the North American continent. It brought the South’s first tornado for the season, and ice and snow to the Midwest. As the storm moved across Pennsylvania into New York, it converged with a second low pressure system that formed off North Carolina, and turned into a nor’easter just in time to hit New York City and Boston. In Boston on February 17-18, winds reached 60 mph (96.56 kph), and 27.5 inches (69.85 cm) of snow buried the city. One person was killed in Boston, part of a total 44 deaths across the country.

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