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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Weather Horror Stories!

Weather Horror Stories!

Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean the scary stories have to go away for another year. Mother Nature has more power to frighten than even the most fearsome ghouls. We recently asked readers to share the scariest weather they’d ever lived through. Here’s a look at some of their answers:

“That’s an easy one to answer. Hurricane Katrina! Like many New Orleanians, I did not believe she was really coming straight for us, or would be that powerful if she did. By the time I became convinced, and scared enough, to evacuate, it was too late to leave. Being in the midst of a Category 4 storm was the scariest thing I have ever experienced, and it taught me to respect all weather conditions.”
– Lisa

“On January 6,1998, the most horrifying ice storm hit here in the eastern part of the country. I was driving to Burlington, Vermont, to pick my brother, who was coming in from Florida, at the airport when the ice started to come down. We did make it back to New York in time to get off the roads, but we awoke in the morning to no power, so much ice accumulation that the trees were all down everywhere, electric wires and poles down everywhere, state of emergency issued and no way to move about! My co-workers were stuck at the job, and had to sleep in the gymnasium, not just one day, but for a few days. People could not get around, and tree cutting companies came from all over to assist with the damage. It was just horrible for all. But being in such a great area where people help people, all was cleaned up enough to get around some by the end of the week.”
– Sandy

“January 1996, a blizzard hit the Jersey Shore. My car was buried under a mound of snow and we couldn’t open our front door because the snowdrifts were so high. I remember that year so vividly, it was a sight to see that much snow and also because it was a “back-breaker” for everyone with so much shoveling. Neighbors banded together and helped each other, but it literally took days to dig out and the snow lasted weeks. Everywhere you looked, you would see “mountains” of snow where it was either plowed or shoveled. Unforgettable!
– Gina

“When we had the derecho in 2012, we were without power for 17 days. We lived in the country and had well water. Needless to say we didn’t have water either. It was so hot we thought we were going to die, all the animals were sick, we thought we were going to lose them. It was so horrible.”
-Rosemary

“The early 1990s, we had one of those West Texas Sand storms that you cant see out of the windows, coming in from the southwest. When all was over with, there had been a tornado in the storm that knocked down electric transmission lines, storage houses were blown apart, transmission poles were lying on the fence, along with debris from who know where. For a week, we had no electricity and no water, so we had to find folks to store our frozen food, and had to haul water for the animals. We couldn’t leave because of vandals. The good Lord took care of us.”
-Wanda

“August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina. No power for 14 days. We live in a rural area and were cut off from everything. Cell towers and landlines were out of service. It was a week and a half before our families from the Gulf Coast were finally contacted. That storm was awful, to say it lightly.”
– Nancy

“The year we had an ice storm hit on Christmas Day. Not only did it cut our time with loved ones short, so they could get home safely, but it was the start to nine long days without any sort of power. When you live in the country and are without power, you also don’t have water (no power to run pump) and no heat (no power to run fan on central heat). It’s amazing how many layers of clothes you can put on or sleep under to get warm. And even more so to be amazed at being able to click that little silver lever on the back of the toilet without having to cart gallons of trucked in water once power is restored. You have to do without things like bread, milk, etc. once they run out, because even if you can get to store there isn’t anything on the shelves because trucks can’t run due to no gas, since pumps don’t work without power. It sure makes you appreciate the simple things in life, and reminds you to keep a better stocked hard times stash!”
– Kay

“Ice storm of 2000, we had no water for three of the six weeks, electric was out for six weeks, trees were popping, sounding like shotgun blast. Phone lines were down. It was like I oft imagined the 1800s were like. Thank God we have a wood stove for heat and were able to melt snow and ice for a bath. Overall, it was darn inconvenient.”
-Troy

“Two summers ago, a flash flood ripped through where we live and completely destroyed our driveway and the road that leads to our house. The road we live on looked like an earthquake had hit. We were left with an eroding hillside and exposed gas and water lines. The damage was over $10,000, which we couldn’t afford and insurance wouldn’t cover. Thankfully our wonderful church paid to fix it all so we wouldn’t be stranded.”
– Kim

“The Iowa Floods of 1993. The whole capital city Des Moines was without drinking water because the city’s water works was contaminated by flooding all over downtown and areas near the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers. People went for weeks without running water and drinking water had to be shipped in and distributed by the Army. Businesses were closed and people had to travel to other cities and towns to even take a shower.”
– Mary

“Blizzard of ‘78. I was going to a school 20 miles away from home. The school was having career day and would not let us leave on time. I had to walk miles before catching a bus, and that bus was so crowded. I knew I would never get home, so I called a friend who lived five miles away. They came to pick me up and I stayed at their house. I had frostbite and wasn’t able to get home for a week.”
– Cindy

“Watching a tornado cloud go overhead while I was out looking for my younger brother in 1965. I will never forget that purple, massive, powerful cloud. It touched down a few towns away.”
– Mary Lou

“Definitely Hurricane Sandy here in New Jersey, when the huge trees snapped like toothpicks in my backyard and there was no power for weeks for some folks by me. I only lost power for a tad less than 24 hours. We couldn’t drive down any roads in our area because of downed trees and power lines. That was the down side, but it brought out a spirit of community and neighbor helpfulness that had not been seen since 9-11.”
– Judy

“It has got be the Agnes flood of 1972, in the Susquehanna Valley in Pennsylvania. I was 20 years old, living in rural Danville. I was trying to drive to the local medical center for my clinical instruction as a nursing student that day after 2-3 days of constant rainfall. I learned very quickly that all roads had become impassable overnight. By then classes, schools, everything had been cancelled. Our local river bridge spanning the mighty Susquehanna had closed as the waters crept within a foot of overflowing. Army helicopters were in the air for supply deliveries, especially to the hospital, and also busy with rescues. Seeing is believing. The devastation of our town was surreal.”
– Bev

“The summer of 1990, in Bullhead City, Arizona. I was driving to the bank with my girlfriend when we saw a huge sand storm approaching. We managed to pull into the parking lot before we were hit by the wall of sand. After 30 minutes of total brownout, the storm blew over. In its wake, dozens of cars were left stranded with clogged air filters. One car even had half its paint sandblasted off. The sand was piled up in drifts against the buildings and the power was out due to several downed poles.”
– C.

“Living in Alaska for 35 years, I would say the worst weather was my first winter in 1977. We had just moved to the North Pole area, and that winter the temperatures dipped to 77 below zero. You literally go into survival mode! That temperature lasted for a day or two, but did not “warm” up to 20 below zero until the next week. I really wondered, “What am I doing here?” And it may sound weird, but 20 below zero is so warm and refreshing after 77 below… people would be outside with just a down vest on and be comfortable! It was a lifetime experience!”
– Denien

“Hurricane Gloria in Connecticut 1985. I was 5 years old and fearless. My grandfather was heading outside to batten down the hatches on his coops, and I was determined to help, even after I had been told “no” by all of the present adults. While everyone was gathered in the living room listening to the radio, I saw my chance to prove myself. I geared up, in my green raincoat and boots, and headed out. I was almost blown away with my first step outside. Luckily my mom had been close at hand watching my plot to sneak out unfold. I remember nothing but grey, wind, and pelting rain. Drenched in seconds, I was brought back inside. The next day I remember walking the neighborhood with my family, amazed at the sight of the destruction. Especially the uprooted trees. Don’t know how in danger I had actually been in. But to my 5-year-old self, I was awestruck.”
– Sarah

What’s the worst weather you’ve ever lived through? Share your story below!

12 comments

1 Dawn B Texas { 11.09.13 at 2:11 pm }

Blizzard of ’78 in rural Nebraska. Snow completely covered our house and we had to dig our way out and our chickens got frostbite. I don’t know how much school we missed. Dad tells about making it into town only to find the store shelves nearly bare. He somehow managed to bring home some powdered milk and a couple other things and we survived for awhile on beans and pancakes and whatever Mom had put up over the summer. I think it was weeks before we could get out anywhere and months before anything was close to normal again.

2 Delia Davenport { 11.07.13 at 4:29 pm }

The worst I remember was the winter of January 2011, I had left work early and made it home before the storm took over, Lake shore drive was nothing but a parking lot, bus, cars, everywhere, no body could move, they were sending in fire ambulance, medical ambulance, people were out trying to walk to get out Lake Shore Drive, cars ran out of gas, some were stuck over night, worst I ever saw. the next morning they said we had a total of 23 inch that had fell that night, some small cars, the snow was up to the hood, it took 2 days for someone to plow my cars out since I park on the street, the store were out of food, milk, people stayed home for 3 days, nobody could move,
snow was just everywhere, I just stayed in.

3 Jill { 11.07.13 at 7:40 am }

I lived at the end of a T-boned street. In the late ’60’s, a tornado came down the street, in front of our house (which sounded worse than the freight train that passed by our house daily), split into two tornadoes (one of which left people I learned hit Oak Lawn, IL and killed 37 people) my grandmother hid my brother and me under my father’s desk in the basement while my parent’s rushed home to see if their children and home were still there/alive.

4 Michael Amato { 11.06.13 at 11:51 pm }

My friend Dave & I knew bad weather was going to hit northern Connecticut & we were determined to intercept it. We intercepted the super cell thunder storm near Weathersfield Ct. We parked our car because we realized we were in a dangerous situation. We reached a large building just as golf ball sized hail began to fall. While everyone else went to the interior part of the building, we stayed at the doorway to watch the storm. Suddenly, a rain wrapped tornado passed us just to our left & we found our selves franticly trying to hold the big heavy doors closed as the tornado went by. We admitted to each other we were really scared. Later we found out the tornado became an EF3 powerhouse after it passed us by.

5 Ross { 11.06.13 at 8:07 pm }

Hurricane Hugo (Sep 1989), Columbia SC — The rain, with those strong winds, was constantly hitting the windows like pellets. It sounded like the windows would blow in any minute. And this was about 30 miles west of the main path of the storm. I’ve been through two other hurricanes in the Washington, DC area — Isabel (Sep 2003) and Sandy (Oct 2012) — and they didn’t compare with Hugo.

6 Katie { 11.06.13 at 4:21 pm }

January 2003 Ice Storm in the Pocono Mountains left us without power for 9 days. Living in the mountains with no power means no heat, no water and no toilets! We stayed in a relative’s house who had a propane fireplace and was on a stream, broke out the camp stoves and lanterns and tried to make the best of it but lying awake at night listen to the thundering crack and ground shaking fall of 60 – 80 foot pines and large limbs from other trees crashing down all around, all night long, we didn’t sleep, we just kept waiting for something to come through the roof.

7 Chelsea { 11.06.13 at 4:08 pm }

I can’t compare to the horror stories, but I remember during the tornado that went through Pennsylvania in 1985. I was just 2 years old and we ended up driving to the nearest underpass because the storm kept circling around the area. I had nightmares for years about tornadoes coming from every direction to obliterate our trailer.

My humorous weather related story was during a severe downpour- we were an hour from home, and the wiper motor on the car went out. Couldn’t see to drive, so my mom found some string and tied it to the windshield wipers, fed it in through the windows and I had to sit for an hour and a half, yanking the string from left to right to make the wipers work.

8 Susan Morrison { 11.06.13 at 2:40 pm }

I am so blessed not to have a tale to tell, but I have enjoyed very much reading of the experiences of others. I say “enjoy” because it’s a blessing that everyone lived to tell the story! I live just north of the Chattanooga, TN area and have been told all my life the mountains protect us. I guess it’s true because although Chattanooga has seen it’s fair share of tornados & flash floods, for the most part we have been spared. Thanks for sharing everyone!

9 Jerrie Baldwin { 11.06.13 at 1:14 pm }

April 27,2011, a tornado came through and all my family (19 of us) went to my sisters bc her home was in the lowest part of our property. The tornado ripped the home apart some of us were under walls, some in between trees. My husband, Mother, son in law and my daughter in laws father was killed, 5 of us were critically injured, and the rest were hurt. We lost a total of 5 homes, and 8 vehicles, along with dogs, cows and horses. That tornado took so much from us. We are still picking up the pieces of our lives.

10 Hippygator { 11.06.13 at 11:30 am }

April 6, 1958 — Vickers Viscount N7437, operating Capital Airlines Flight 67 stalled and crashed on approach to Saginaw, Michigan, resulting in 49 fatalities.The cause was attributed to ice accretion on the horizontal stabiliser.[10] Wikipedia

I remember that night especially well as one of the worst storms I have ever witnessed. I was a shortwave listener at the time and I was worried that my ungrounded antenna which stretched 100 feet out my bedroom window would be struck by lightning!
The wind howled and that dreadful sound along with ice pellets striking my window put up a terrible din all night long. The next morning we learned the worst. All of Freeland, Michigan had been cordoned off in the search for the 49 souls who were aboard Capital Airlines Viscount flight 67. A schoolmate of mine lost his father in that crash.

11 Peter Geiger { 11.06.13 at 10:25 am }

During my college years I worked at a boy’s camp in Maine. During the summer we took three overnight camping trips including one to an island on Long Pond in Maine. There were 3 counselors and 14 boys this time around. The weather was drop dead gorgeous for three days. … not a cloud int he sky.

In order to get to the island, we towed the boys and equipment in four metal boats (2 with small motors) and went 5 miles from put in to the site. After 3 terrific days,we loaded gear but I had a sense that something was not right. As we headed back and around the bend, a massive thunderstorm was coming at us. I didn’t have to be the editor of the Farmers’ Almanac to know we were in boat load of trouble.

In desperation we got the kids and adults on a big rock and threw a tarp over us. The storm passed and the boats filled with water but no worse for wear. That was the single scariest weather moment of my life and I am sure it is an experienced shared by others. Thunderstorm come and go but they pack power.

12 Brenda { 11.05.13 at 6:27 pm }

The worst weather I lived through was the wind storm in Oregon on December 2-3, 2007 when the winds howled at around 100 miles an hour for over 36 hours. Watching the trees sway and snap in half right out side my window and living in a mobile home all alone was very scary!

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