Remember When: A Look Back at Two Big Weather Anniversaries

By: Tim Studebaker

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WARWICK, R.I. – A lot of folks probably remember today’s date 7 years ago.  That’s because our area was in the grip of the March floods of 2010.  Amid so much of the damage the floods caused, they also made the parking lot at the Warwick Mall look more like a river.

ABC6 Stormtracker Meteorologist Chelsea Priest was interning with ABC6 during the floods and says, "The images that stick out the most to me, Warwick Mall underwater.  That was just incredible.  Leading up to the rain event, at the end of March, all the snow had melted from the winter, so the ground was already saturated.  And then you get these rain events, one right on top of each other, really.  The last few days of March we get 5 to 10 inches of rain.  Before that even happened, the rivers were already close to flood level.  So, once you saw that rain coming in, you knew that it was going to be pretty big."

Joe and Joanne Donahue from Warwick also remember the floods.

Joanne Donahue says, "Oh God, it was devastating.  My sister’s house was covered.  The whole bottom half of her house was under water.  She lost everything"

And there’s another big weather anniversary to talk about.  Saturday marks 20 years since the April Fool’s Day Blizzard of 1997.

Jeff Desnoyers, ABC6 Stormtracker Chief Meteorologist says, "The craziest thing about the storm from 1997, I remember, was the day before we got into the storm, the temperatures were in the 50s and 60s.  And then we kept saying ‘blast of snow coming in’ and I don’t think anybody believed it.  They really thought it was a joke – an April Fool’s joke, but it certainly was no joke when we saw 2 to 3 feet of snow fall across the area.  Snowfall rates were 3 inches per hour."

The Donahues were around for that one too.

Joe Donahue says, "I was coming across Route 6 back out of Connecticut.  You couldn’t see anything.  When I got back to the yard, we parked down in West Greenwich, couldn’t even get in the yard.  We had to wait for a plow to come in."

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017