From December 21 through 26, 2022, an historic extratropical bomb cyclone brought blizzard conditions and winter storms to much of Canada and the United States, killing at least 71 people and cancelling or delaying more than 10,000 flights during the busy Christmas travel season. The storm was unofficially named Winter Storm Elliott by The Weather Channel. Meanwhile, a separate storm moved into the Pacific Northwest on December 23. The storm knocked out power for more than 30,000 people in Washington State and Oregon.
In Storm Elliott, northwestern Michigan got nearly 43 inches of snow. Buffalo, New York’s 37.5 hours of blizzard conditions was the longest blizzard in the city’s history. As the storm began to exit the United States, it brought the fourth highest high tide on record to Portland, Maine. At Portland Head Light in Maine, one of the most visited lighthouses in the world, damage included a window smashed on the keeper’s house, and a door broken in on the lighthouse tower entryway. At Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse on the New Hampshire Seacoast, the 80-foot walkway that led out to the lighthouse was largely destroyed. Meanwhile, the headquarters of the U.S. Lighthouse Society at the Point No Point Light Station in Washington state was closed due to flooding.
Taking part in a December 30 discussion of the storms were the following people: Jeff Gales, executive director of the U.S. Lighthouse Society; Mike Vogel, president of the U.S. Lighthouse Society; Michelle Jewell Shaw, frequent co-host of this podcast and chairperson of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses; Bob Trapani, executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation; Art Greene, chair of the Spring Point Ledge Light Trust in South Portland, Maine; Chad Kaiser, general manager of New Dungeness Lighthouse in Washington; Nick Korstad, owner of the Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B in Michigan; and Cindy Johnson, frequent Light Hearted co-host and member of the Chapter Leadership Committee of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses. Interviewed in a separate segment was Kathleen Raftice, director of Fort Williams Park and Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
This episode is also available in extended video form on the USLHS YouTube channel.
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Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org