EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A late-season blizzard hit Southern New England on March 31 into April 1, 1997.

The blizzard took many by surprise, especially since conditions were mild in the days prior.

The storm dropped as much as two feet of snow, which crippled travel for days and knocked out power to more than 70,000 homes and businesses.

The National Weather Service said the public didn’t take the storm warnings seriously, given the date and the fact that temperatures were in the 50s and 60s just days before.

The April Fool’s Day blizzard was the most significant snowstorm of the 1996-1997 winter season, and up until then, snowfall totals were well below average.

Providence recorded 18 inches of snow, while Taunton fell just short of two feet and north Foster topped 24 inches of accumulations.

The blizzard still ranks in the top 10 largest snowstorms to hit Rhode Island.