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Knickerbocker Storm

Category 4 "Crippling" (RSI: 14.97)
Weather map for the morning of January 28, 1922 showing the Knickerbocker Storm.

The Knickerbocker Storm was a blizzard that occurred on January 27–28, 1922 in the upper South and middle Atlantic United States. The storm took its name from the resulting collapse of the Knickerbocker Theatre in Washington, D.C. shortly after 9 p.m. on January 28 which killed 98 people and injured 133.[1]


  • Setup for the event 1
  • Impact 2
    • Theater roof collapse 2.1
  • Book 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

Setup for the event

The aftermath.

An Arctic airmass was in place across the northeast cyclone took three days to move up the Eastern Seaboard, which was double the normal time used by forecasters of that era to move storm systems up the coast. Snow reached Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. by noon on January 28, and continued into the morning of January 29. Temperatures remained in the 20s Fahrenheit (-5 °C) through much of the event.[3]


The headstone of a musician (William Tracy) who died when the theater roof collapsed.

An estimated 22,400 square miles (58,000 km²) of the northeast United States were affected by 20 inches (51 cm) of snow from this cyclone, which was over one-fifth of the total area that received over 4 in (10 cm) of snow. Snowfall was quite heavy in Maryland and Virginia.[4] Richmond, Virginia recorded 19 inches (48 cm). Baltimore, Maryland was paralyzed as it received the most snowfall within 24 hours since 1872. The measured snow depth at the main observing site in Washington, D.C. reached 28 in (71 cm) while an observer in Rock Creek Park a few miles to the north measured 33 in (84 cm) with 3.02 in (76.7 mm) of liquid equivalent.[1] Railroad lines between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. were covered by at least 36 in (91 cm) of snow, with drifts as high as 16 ft (4.9 m).[3] This snowstorm is the biggest in the history of Washington, D.C. since official record keeping began in 1885 (although it is dwarfed by the 36 inches (91 cm) of snow in the Washington–Jefferson Storm of January 1772).[5]

Theater roof collapse

The Washington, D.C. history.[1] Congressman Andrew Jackson Barchfeld was among those killed in the theater. The theater's architect, Reginald Wyckliffe Geare, and owner, Harry M. Crandall, later committed suicide; Geare in 1927 and Crandall in 1937.[7]


On January 14, 2013, a book about the snowstorm, "The Knickerbocker Snowstorm (Images of America)," was released.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Ambrose, Kevin. "The Knickerbocker Snowstorm of January 27–28, 1922". Washington Weather Book. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  2. ^ "The Greatest Storms of the Century in the Greater Washington-Baltimore Region". National Weather Service Office Sterling, Virginia. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  3. ^ a b "Quotes: Page 6". Archived from the original on 2009-08-07. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  4. ^ "History of Significant Snowstorms in the Northeast U.S.". New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management Operations. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  5. ^ "Biggest Snowstorms on Record". National Weather Service Forecast Office Baltimore/Washington, Sterling, Virginia. 2005-12-30. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  6. ^ Gomery, Douglas (Spring–Summer 1997). "A Movie-Going Capital". Washington History (The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.) 9 (1): 4–23. 
  7. ^ Fishbein, Gershon (January 22, 2009). "A Winter's Tale of Tragedy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  8. ^ "The Knickerbocker Snowstorm: Inside insights on D.C.’s deadliest disaster". The Washington Post. 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 

Further reading

  • Siddons, Justice (December 6, 1927). "Knickerbocker Disaster Worst in 50 Years". Washington Post. 
  • Ambrose, Kevin (January 14, 2013). The Knickerbocker Snowstorm (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. p. 128. 

External links

  • The Knickerbocker Snowstorm of January 27-28, 1922
  • Major Blizzards in U.S. History
  • Footage of the Knickerbocker Theatre Disaster on YouTube
  • The Knickerbocker Theatre Tragedy, at Ghosts of DC
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