Reviews for
Blizzard!! The Great White Hurricane

"This account of the Blizzard of ‘88 was truly one of the most captivating, must-read account of a truly historic weather event I have ever read.  Your mix of what was happening weatherwise and a very believable account of how the people reacted to a lone voice warning of a major life-threatening event reminded me of what happened in the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and the hurricane of ‘38.  Your description of how your meteorological savant, William Augustus Roebling, saw the pieces coming together and like the farmers and sailors of old, observed the big picture weather and locally the sky and wind to see signs of threats was something I can relate to in my youth in NYC.  In the days before the models and the internet, I too attached the high-level cirrus clouds and the direction of the surface wind as indications in winter whether a snowstorm would occur near the coast.  I remember the great blizzards of the 1960s and 1970s and did my Master’s thesis on Explosive Development in East Coast storms, of which the Blizzard of ‘88 was clearly one.  This is a remarkable read and I highly recommend it for weather and history buffs."
- Joe D’Aleo, CCM
Chief Forecaster, WeatherBELL Analytics

"Absolutely LOVE the book.  Adds a new layer and more of an emotional component to all the weather data I’ve studied about this event.  Would add this as a must-read companion to weather history."
- Steven DiMartino
Weather Concierge
NY NJ PA Weather


OnLine Book Club

Post by Amanda Deck

Official Review: Blizzard!! The Great White Hurricane

A blizzard of epic proportions devastated America’s east coast in 1888 when it unexpectedly struck weeks past the usual season for snow. Only one man saw it coming, a man who had spent years developing a system that was accurate far beyond what was available even for the Signal Service Corps – the agency responsible for weather forecasts and warnings. Ordered to keep silent about his system and his absurd prediction, Will Roebling told only his family and close friends. Then “The Great White Hurricane”, as this infamous blizzard is known, struck. Who of Will’s acquaintances took measures to prepare? Who trusted Will enough to believe in a coming doom that was so far from what any reasonable person would expect?

Timothy R. Minnich has written a novel that does justice to the incredible events of late 1888 in Blizzard!! The Great White Hurricane. He captured the atmosphere of the time in New York so well that I felt like I was following along with the characters in their lives. Not only did Minnich immerse us in the lifestyles and events of people in those days, he used spelling, grammar, and punctuation fitting for the times. Quotation marks were used differently, and the use of commas was in continual flux. An example is a question mark followed by a comma inside the quotation marks at the end of a spoken sentence. I’ve usually seen a double hyphen used in books published in those days, but as I said, comma usage was still debated. This is just another way Minnich pulls the reader into the late 1800s.

The book starts with a lot of meteorological and forecasting information, some quite technical. It was fascinating enough to make me go look up more. This caught my attention: That’s the height in the atmosphere throughout which the horizontal velocity divergence is zero. Really? Zero? I had to go find out more about a layer that apparently doesn’t interact with the other layers.

The characters are wonderfully detailed with actions suited to their personalities. I enjoyed Will’s attempts at romance and his conversations with his older female landlady who was happy to give him advice. Office politics, survival information, friendships, questions of ethics, and of course, plenty of suspense are here as we follow not only Will’s life, but also those of his friends, his co-workers, and others he met due to the trauma of those days.

I highly recommend this to anyone interested in history, weather, and the question of whether or not “I was just following orders” is a good defense. It was quite difficult to believe Will wouldn’t do his best to inform the public about the impending danger of this horrific blizzard. Once I thought more about it, I acknowledged that military members absolutely must obey without question because those of higher rank usually have information that the lower ranks do not. Adding to that, weather forecasting technology at the time was not entirely reliable, which meant that it would be a rare person who would believe him.

This definitely gets a well-deserved 4 out of 4 stars. I was so engrossed while reading that, when my roommate interrupted my reading once to say it was time to go, I actually almost said, “We’re not going out in that, are you crazy?”
Blizzard!! The Great White Hurricane
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Blizzard!! The Great White Hurricane – Review  by Robert Felix
I made the mistake of reading this book over the holidays, and became so engrossed that I got out of bed twice on Christmas Eve just to read a few more pages.

Written by long-time meteorologist and atmospheric scientist Timothy Minnich, Blizzard!! The Great White Hurricane, is a must read for anyone interested in history or climate.

This captivating novel describes the circumstances leading up to the truly historic blizzard that pummeled the eastern seaboard of the United States beginning on March 11, 1888. The blizzard, arguably the greatest blizzard to ever strike the United States, killed more than 400 unprepared souls, 200 in New York City alone.

The word “unprepared” doesn’t begin to describe the chaos. Remember, there was no National Weather Service at that time, and thus no warning whatsoever – none! – of the impending disaster. No radios, no TVs, no cars, no trucks, no snowplows, and only the rich could afford electricity or primitive telephones.

But the rich suffered along with the poor.

Electric and telegraph lines went down, trains and buildings were buried beneath snowdrifts 30–40 feet (9–12 m) deep from New York to New England. Many three-story houses were totally covered, with some drifts measuring more than five stories deep (more than 50 feet). The streets became impassable (no surprise), with no way to deliver fresh food, milk, or coal for heat.

Fire stations were immobilized, and property loss from fire alone was estimated at $25 million (equivalent to $710 million in 2020).

According to Minnich, although the hero and his love interest (yes, it’s also a love story) are fictional, the events and descriptions, even the language, are as much as possible historically accurate, as is the depiction of New York City life in the late 1880’s.

I loved this book, and think you will too.

Amazon (United States)

Alison L. McDaniel

5.0 out of 5 stars Well-rounded characters, great story, well written, human interest, historical and exciting!!

I absolutely loved Blizzard!! My whole Christmas and New Year’s holiday was spent in bed with the flu. Having this wonderful book to read transported me to another world and created an atmosphere that provided me the best Christmas I have ever had! I had to slow down my reading toward the end as I did not want the book to end. Whether you are a weather buff or not, it is a great read as there is so much human interest. The characters come so to life on the pages and you just can’t resist the time machine that pulls you back to the late 19th century and the impending doom about to befall them. The book is riveting, warm, well-written and keeps you on the raggedy edge as the storm intensifies and ravages the eastern seaboard and the lives of our new found friends. Ali Miner, CARMEL, CA

2 people found this helpful

Robert L. Scotto

5.0 out of 5 stars Blizzard! The Great White Hurricane is an awesome read !!

Blizzard! The Great White Hurricane is an awesome read. Set in New York City, it brings to life, in accurate historical detail, the late 19th century societal impact from what truly was an unexpected, extraordinary, but natural extreme weather event. The development the character Will Roebling, a young, but brilliant weather forecaster, is captivating. Feeling "alone on an island", he struggles with the realization as being only one who truly knows the magnitude of the approaching storm. In Roebling’s character, what comes to life, is the psychological stress and associated guilt of not having the authority or position to warn city residents of the approaching disaster. Similar to the "Perfect Storm," I hope this novel gets picked up as the basis for a screen play for what I believe could be made into a Block Buster movie thriller.

John L.

5.0 out of 5 stars Descriptive story of probably the most significant weather event to impact the New York City area

A wonderfully detailed and vividly descriptive story leading up to the great Blizzard of 1888. Being a meteorologist, I appreciate the authors attention to the details of life at the time and what was experienced living through one of the most impactful storms in the New York Metropolitan area. The story revolves around several characters and how each was impacted by the storm. Highly recommend.

Edward H.

5.0 out of 5 stars Mother Nature at her angriest!

A great read that combined the raw power of nature and the stories of the many lives that were affected. The harrowing accounts of survival and the many heroes that worked to help save others will keep your interest along with the amazing descriptions of the storm itself.

2 people found this helpful

Nancy Farley

5.0 out of 5 stars A fine adventure

Verified Purchase

History only comes alive when told through the lens of personal experience. I've heard the stories of this blizzard all my life as my grandfather was caught in the storm as a child. This book brings life to all those stories and paints an excellent picture of this event. Well done!


5.0 out of 5 stars What a great read!

Verified Purchase

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It provided a history of the storm and gave some insight into life in the 1880's. The story intertwined into the storm had surprises around each corner. I would highly recommend this book. Enjoy!

Mary Ellen

5.0 out of 5 stars Great researching

Verified Purchase

Interesting read on the blizzard but also enjoyed the characters in the book.


5.0 out of 5 stars A great book based on actual events with a personal story to it also

Interesting story, well written. I liked the fact that it was based on a real-life situation. The author did a great job describing how the citizens were taken by surprise by the Blizzard and the traumatic results of them not being warned ahead of time. I also liked the personal side of the story of Will Roebling and his trials and tribulations with his relationships with his landlady Mrs. Duncan & his girlfriend Kira. Great read! I highly recommend it!

Robert Nisbet

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of a Historical event

The author did an excellent job building and bringing all of the characters together to the climatic end. My only complaint was with the book's proofreader. It was distracting to see "to-day; to-morrow, etc." hyphenated throughout.



Anne H.
The author provides an exciting window into the times and people experiencing the great blizzard of 1888. Set in New York City, the story follows the ground breaking development of a storm forecasting system by the protagonist Will Roebling. Being a native New Yorker, it was great fun going back into 1880's New York while it experienced the storm of the century. Not being a meteorologist, indeed having little to no understanding of the skill and science involved in storm forecasting models, I also learned a great deal, and will never view a weather forecast quite the same way again!
(5 out of 5 stars)

Edward H.
An excellent read for anyone who can appreciate the unbelievable power of this historic storm and the human drama that surrounded the characters who were trying to survive it! Highly recommend!
(5 out of 5 stars)

Jeffrey B. Hunker down or die
I hope it will never happen again! The record-breaking winter hurricane snow storm that set all-time records and Destroyed many lives but made for great friends and love. An old-fashioned great book like I have been waiting for. A real page turner. I did not want this book to end!
(5 out of 5 stars)

James D.
This book is a great example of what can happen to a city, a state, a nation, the world when important information is withheld from the public. I live in the highlands of Pennsylvania. I love snow and snow storms. The more severe the better. Mostly because we know they are coming. As I read this book "Blizzard!! The Great White Hurricane" I could not help but anticipate the coming of the storm w/ excitement. My excitement when reading of the actual storm was tempered by the suffering of the people and animals of NYC. Such a vivid picture of what people had to endure in and around the City. The book included plenty of relevant factual historical and meteorological information. There was a lot of research put into the writing of "Blizzard!! The Great White Hurricane". Another reason I enjoyed reading it. The character development was such that another book could have been written on the character relationships alone. As a result, I enjoyed reading this book on many levels. I gave the book to my wife (not a big reader) and she enjoyed it also. Highly recommended. JD
(5 out of 5 stars)

Joyce D.
This is a delightful story with a lot of information on weather forecasting. Additionally, the author includes a Prologue that provides background information on the characters and events from before the start of the story. Also included is an Epilogue so the reader knows what eventually happens which wraps it all up nicely. It is so apparent throughout the book, that much research had been done to reflect jargon and daily living of the times.
(4 out of 5 stars)

Maria F.
I truly enjoyed this book. No details were left out. I was able to visualize the events and the personal interactions between characters. (I am a sucker for romance.) I usually have a difficult time staying awake at night to read. But since I was half-way through the book, I was very engaged in the story line and invested in the characters. I had to know what happened next so I took a day off from work to finish it. I was not disappointed!! I have to add that reading about this historical snow storm during a hot summer day in July was truly refreshing.
(5 out of 5 stars)



Robert Feller  It was amazing
I was able to imagine being there during the storm as a result of the descriptive writing of the author. Not only was the book well written but the subject captured me and I had a hard time taking a break from the book. I got so involved with the characters in the book that I wanted to start yelling at people to listen up and start taking the storm seriously. The book is a novel yet based upon actual events and that type storm could happen all over again if the weather patterns converge as happened in 1888. With the capabilities of computerized special effects, this could be a real block buster movie if it ever gets to the silver screen and I hope that it does.
(5 out of 5 stars)