THE LEONID METEOR STORM
One of the most famous meteor storms on record occurred on 17 November 1833, during the Leonid shower. All along
North America's east coast—including Niagara Falls, New York
—stunned observers saw hundreds of meteors per minute. They described the meteors as falling like snowflakes or heavy rain.
Estimates of the hour rate range from 50,000 to 200,000 meteors. Every 33 years, the Earth passes through an especially dense portion of the Leonid stream, resulting in a brief storm. Following the 1833 event, thousands of meteors again rained down in 1866.
The Leonid stream can be perturbed by Jupiter's gravity, which may explain the poor performances in 1899 and 1932. The storm returned in full force, however, on 16 November 1966, when an estimated 150,000 meteors were seen a few hours before dawn.
And in 1999 the Leonids "roared" again, although changes in the meteor stream reduced the numbers greatly compared to 1966.