Memorable Events

Bratenahl Blizzards

Bilzzard of 1913
Bilzzard of 1913

Snowstorms with constant winds over 35 mph do not occur frequently in Bratenahl. The worst blizzards listed in the National Weather Service records since 1871 occurred on November 9 to 11 in 1913, November 23 to 28 in 1950, and January 26 to 27 in 1978.

The 1913 four-day blizzard turned into a frenzy of sleet, winds over 90 miles-per-hour, and snowfall of over 20 inches. Bratenahl was completely paralyzed. Freezing rain fell early Sunday, November 9. That night, 60 mile-per-hour winds with gusts over 90 miles-per-hour blew out windows and spread fires for over 7 hours, and the barometer fell to 28.78"—a record at that time. Downed electric wires electrocuted horses, halted trolleys and severed communications. Plowing was futile as 22.2" of snow fell in the 3-day storm. Lake Erie waves were over thirty-five-feet high. Thirty-two Great Lakes ships were lost or severely damaged, as 277 sailors died. The storm subsided Tuesday, and food and fuel deliveries could not be found beyond E. 55th Street. A thaw began on Thursday as temperatures reached 44 degrees, and normal conditions returned by Friday. The Weather Bureau called the storm the worst in its records.

The five-day 1950 Thanksgiving blizzard began when an arctic air mass lowered the temperature to seven degrees. The next day, November 24, low pressure caused a blizzard with high winds and heavy snow which closed the airport. The National Guard and snow removal equipment were mobilized to clear the 22.1" of snow brought by the storm; however, snowdrifts and over 10,000 abandoned cars blocked the effort. A state of emergency was declared banning unnecessary travel.  Businesses were asked to stagger hours to reduce transit burdens. Nonessential automobiles were banned. The storm weakened on Monday, but most area schools remained closed. The storm ended, and all guardsmen were dismissed by Wednesday, but schools remained closed all week to keep children off transit lines. The auto ban lasted until the last CTS line reopened on Saturday. Normal conditions returned as the temperature hit 53 degrees. The storm had paralyzed the area for a week and cost over $1 million and 23 lives.

The worst blizzard in Bratenahl history hit early Thursday, January 26, 1978. A cyclone formed with the eye reaching Bratenahl about 4:00 a.m., lowering the barometer to a record 28.26". The temperature dropped 39 degrees in 6 hours. Sustained winds blew 53 mph with 82-mph gusts as the wind-chill exceeded minus 100 degrees. Eight inches of snow fell. Hopkins Airport closed early with zero visibility. The Illuminating Co. sent 140 crews to repair 300 lines downed by wind and branches as 110,000 Greater Cleveland homes lost power. The National Guard was activated as a state of emergency was declared. Since the storm hit before workers could depart for jobs, RTA met the increased demand by adding 20 extra buses to its service, however many bus lines were rerouted because of closed roads. Except for I-77, all area freeways were closed by the storm. When conditions improved the next day, Hopkins Airport and all major highways reopened, and food supplies began arriving over the weekend. That winter was Bratenahl’s second-snowiest ever.