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The 1990's
Natural Disasters
The 1993 Storm of the Century



The 1993 Storm of the Century
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.42

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    jack-knifed, semi-trucks, snowfall-prediction, turbo-prop, u-turn, collision, milestone, northward, accuracy, billion, fatal, surge, panhandle, patrol, freak, freighter
     content words:    White Hurricane, Jet Stream, East Coast, West Coast, Coast Guard, In Birmingham, Appalachian Trail, Mount Le Conte, In Latrobe, Daytona Beach


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The 1993 Storm of the Century
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     The Storm of the Century was called by many names. Among them were "The '93 Superstorm," "The White Hurricane," and "The Blizzard of '93." All names were well earned. The storm was called a freak of nature. It began in February of 1993 when the Jet Stream blasted cold air into Montana and on down to the Gulf of Mexico. It took a u-turn and banked back up the East Coast.
 
2     On Friday, March 13, 1993, a group of powerful thunderstorms formed over the Gulf of Mexico. These storms merged with a cold front pushing east from the West Coast. These two storm systems collided with the Jet Stream over the Gulf. This collision created a storm surge. "It looked like a big washing machine. There were huge waves and spray and hail," remarked one Coast Guard officer. The winds hit 50 mph and the water swells were up to 30 feet. The freighter Fantastico sunk. Seven crew members of the freighter died when the Coast Guard rescue helicopters ran low on fuel and had to return to base.
 
3     Temperatures over the eastern U.S. began to fall to near or below freezing. The storm blew ashore. Eleven different tornadoes formed over Florida killing seven people. Then the snow began falling. Several inches of snow fell on Florida's panhandle. All told, forty-four Florida residents lost their lives, and the storm had just begun.

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The 1990's
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