October 30-31, 1993- Halloween Snowstorm

One of the greatest early-season snow events in Ohio occurred on October 30th and 31st, 1993. A low pressure center moved through the Ohio Valley on the 30th and was followed closely by an upper air disturbance on Halloween. Temperatures were well below normal on both days across the state, generally ranging from the low to mid 30s. A wet, occasionally heavy snow began to fall early on the 30th and continued through the 31st. Because of the marginal temperatures, much of the snow melted as it fell, but still accumulated several inches in many areas, with southern and southwestern parts of the state receiving the most, being closer to the low center. While October flurries and light snows are not uncommon in Ohio, this proved to be an exceptional event for so early in the season. For many, this was the first and only White Halloween on record.

The Columbus Dispatch story from October 31st:


Columbus Dispatch, The (OH) – October 31, 1993
Author/Byline: Matthew Marx, Dispatch Staff Reporter

The likelihood that central Ohio would see snow in October wasn’t exactly great.
But then again, what were the odds John Cooper’s Ohio State Buckeyes would remain undefeated after eight games?
A steady mixture of snow and showers combined with temperatures about 20 degrees colder than normal to give the region a taste of December weather to go along with early symptoms of Rose Bowl fever yesterday.
And many of the 94,000 who braved the elements to see the third-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 12 Penn State 24-6 at Ohio Stadium probably are battling colds and flu today.
Even “fair-weather” fans showed up for the game, considered the toughest ticket on this season’s home schedule. Scalpers outside the stadium were asking $30-$150 per seat even 20 minutes before kickoff.
Relatively few spectators left midway through the second quarter, after Ohio State led 17-6. Among them was Northwest Side resident Lou Walliott and his 7-year-old daughter Maura, who decided to go home, build a fire and watch the rest of the football game on television.
Stadium usher Linda Studier said she was surprised so many fans turned out at all. But she was more astonished by the sight of morning flurries.
“When I had heard it was going to snow today, I said ‘Yeah. Sure.’ How often do they predict snow and it never comes? This isn’t Christmas,” Studier said.
The first snow normally isn’t expected for another three weeks, said Stan Czyzyk, Accu-Weather meteorologist. Yesterday’s high of 37 degrees occurred just after midnight. The normal high and low this time of year is 59 and 39 degrees, he said.
Around the city, traffic slowed at times but few problems were reported.
Columbus street maintenance crews were waiting to see if an overnight drop in temperature would mean an early appearance by salt trucks.
More snow and showers are expected today, clearing partially but bringing colder temperatures at night. The high will be 38 degrees; The low will be 28.

The weather maps for October 25th-31st, 1993. Requires a Dejavu plugin to view.

Some snowfall totals from around the state…

Akron: 6.6″
Cincinnati: 6.2″
Columbus: 4.6″
Dayton: 4.1″
Toledo: 0.8″
Cleveland: 0.2″

November 1993 had only 0.8″ at Columbus, as the rest of all into early winter was generally milder than normal. Winter didn’t fully set in until after mid-December, and of course, January 1994 is pretty legendary, particularly for its cold outbreak.