The 1804 Snow hurricane was the first tropical cyclone in recorded history known to produce snowfall. An unusual late-season storm in 1804 it produced vast amounts of snow, rain, and powerful winds across the northeastern United States. Prior to its approach to the East Coast of the US, it passed through the Caribbean on October 4th, and later tracked just off the South Carolina coast. By early on October 9th, the storm turned up the coast and toward New England as it did so its tropical moisture was pushed across New England just as very cold air came plunging southward from Canada. While located off the Massachusetts coast, it reached its peak intensity wind of 110 . Due to its unusual nature, both heavy snowfall and strong winds caused a swath of devastation stretching from the Mid-Atlantic states to northern New England. In the Middle-Atlantic region, moderate damage occurred at sea coast but little was noted inland. In New England, strong gusts inflicted significant damage to numerous churches. Thousands of trees were knocked over, obstructing roads and damaging the timber industry throughout the region. Cold temperatures, wet snow, and high winds downed numerous branches in fruit orchards and froze crops, flattened dozens of barns, and killed cattle. In general, the agriculture, shipping, timber, and livestock trades suffered most acutely following the passage of the snow hurricane, while structural damage was widespread but generally inconsequential. The storm's most severe effects were concentrated at sea and led to a majority of the hurricane's deaths. Winds swept dozens of watercraft and multiple ships ashore, while high waters capsized many others. Several wharves were destroyed, subsequently harming local shipping businesses as a consequence. Snow and rainfall totals varied widely. Parts of Massachusetts received up to 7 in of rain, in contrast to snow totals upward of 48 in was measured in Vermont. In all, the hurricane caused more than 15 deaths at sea and one inland. The snow hurricane of 1804, generally described as the most severe storm in the United States since the Great Colonial Hurricane of nearly 200 years earlier, set several major precedents which have only infrequently occurred since. It was the first known tropical cyclone to generate significant snowfall, and its early and extensive accumulations throughout New England were unprecedented and unusually heavy.
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