The Blizzard of '78: Where Were You?

35 years ago this week, the huge snowstorm paralyzed Ohio, Michigan and Indiana


With temperatures peaking in the upper 50s this week in Cleveland, it’s a perfect example of how unpredictable the weather can be.

It was 35 years ago this week that the “Blizzard of ‘78” struck, a stark contrast to this week's weather.

Formally referred to as the Great Blizzard of 1978, it dumped more than a foot snow from Jan. 25-27. That was accompanied by temperatures dipping to 0 and wind gusts of up to 48 mph, according to the National Weather Service’s storm review.

The blizzard was deemed the worst in Ohio history, resulting in 51 deaths. More than 50,000 members of the Ohio National Guard were called in to make numerous rescues and for the first time ever, the entire Ohio Turnpike was closed down.

Michigan declared a state of emergency and Indiana declared a snow emergency. Regionally, snow drifts reached heights of 25 feet.

By the time the snow stopped falling on Jan. 29, Ohio had more than a foot of snow and South Bend, IN had more than 3 feet.

The Butler County Engineer’s Office in Buffalo called the event a “severe blizzard.”

“Wind speeds, by that time, had reached the 70 mile per hour range and gusts of more than 100 miles per hour downed power lines, billboards, mobile homes, and tree limbs,” the site reported. “An entire semi-trailer truck was buried in one snow bank near Mansfield. The driver was not rescued until nearly a week later.”

According to OhioHistorcyCentral.com, “With temperatures already hovering near zero, the wind chill was deadly, reaching sixty degrees Fahrenheit below zero. Thousands of people were stranded in their cars and in their homes. Thousands of homes and businesses lost electricity.”

A week and a half later, the Northeastern United States Blizzard of 1978 struck the northeast, paralyzing Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and parts of New York.

In that storm, 54 people died. One tragic death included 10-year-old Peter Gosselin, of Uxbridge, Massachusetts who disappeared in the deep snow just feet from his home's front door but was not found until three weeks later.

Where were you during the blizzard? Share your memories below. 

tom m January 30, 2013 at 04:22 PM
newscenter 8 footage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6RcU5ch8vQ
Rand T. Lennox January 31, 2013 at 01:27 PM
It was a learning experience. I bought a 4 wheel drive vehicle, packed a snow suit and boots in a duffle bag to keep in my car and learned to live in concert with the weather instead of trying to fight it. I still do the same things and haven't worried about Cleveland winters since.


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