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I was a 21 yr old student at The Ohio State University in 1978, living in an apartment that was about 600 yards from the Olentangy River.  I remember that because during the Blizzard of 1978, when the roads quickly became undriveable, but before businesses realized how much shit was about to hit the fan and had a chance to close down, I struck out on foot from the back of my apt and tentatively walked across the frozen river, scrambled up its west bank into the parking lot of Krogers, and bought as much beer and food as I could possibly carry...and then retraced my steps.

My roommate had just purchased an ounce of grass the day before, so we had that exigency covered.

The snowstorm came up sort of quickly, as I remember.  There was not a lot of hype by the local weathermen in the days leading up to it.  On Wednesday, Jan. 25, the weather was relatively mild in fact, especially compared to what the weather during much of that winter had been like.  It was around 40 degrees and rainy.  If you listened to the weather report during the 6:00 PM news that night and heard nothing else, you went to bed expecting it to be a little colder the next day with some snow.  It wasn't until later that night that weathermen started noticing the barometric pressure falling rapidly, and they realized a significant event was taking shape.  

When it hit, boy did it deliver a blow.  It's the most impressive snowstorm...indeed, a blizzard...that I had ever experienced, and nothing I have ever experienced since has measured up to it.

After reading Weatherdude's diary about the severe weather warnings for the Southern states, it made me reminisce, and I thought it would be fun to do a diary about this.  I'm guessing there are many of you who lived through this blizzard as well, so there should be some good first person stories in the comments.

Here is a picture taken in Indianapolis the day after the blizzard hit.  It shows how deep the drifts were, and how many motorists became stranded and simply abandoned their cars.  This scene played out across the Midwest and Great Lakes region.  In Michigan alone, more than 100,000 motorists abandoned their vehicles on that January 26.

Indy hit 104 today, been posting COLD photos on FB. Blizzard 1978 Indy

One of the things I remember about that storm was all of the cars that people had simply walked away from...on freeways, major thoroughfares and city streets.  The snow was very dry, and the winds were so strong and relentless that drifts quickly swallowed many of them up and completely buried them.  It was a major complicating factor for many cities in their attempt to plow and reopen major arteries.  Those cars had to be removed, towed or at the very least pushed aside before plows could move through and effectively remove the snow.

Less than two weeks later another, distinct Blizzard, hit the New England area.  It was a double whammy for the country, and this is one of the more famous pictures taken of that storm's aftermath, in Massachusetts:

Blizzard of 1978

I'll try to explain, as best I can, how this blizzard was spawned, with the understanding that I am no weatherdude.  I can regurgitate what I've learned from reading many of the 30 year anniversary stories that major newspapers published in 2008, as well as some of the raw numbers that made this storm such an historic and memorable event.  What I realized, however, after reading all of those retrospectives, as well as the literally hundreds of reader comments that those newspaper articles engendered, is how much times have changed in the 34 years since 1978.  That, in many ways, is the most fascinating angle of this story for me.  34 years go by in the blink of an me on this, you younger whippersnappers.  And the societal and technological changes that have taken place since then have, in many ways, occurred with equal rapidity.

As I said in the intro, what was to become an epic storm received very little fanfare beforehand by meteorologists during the 48 hours which preceded it.  As a result, people were caught flatfooted for the most part.  Much of this can be attributed to the much more crude weather forecasting tools and models that were in use then.  But some of it can also be explained by putting the storm in the wider context of the months that preceded.  The winter of 1977-1978 was one of the coldest and snowiest winters (and falls) of the century.  Much of Michigan, for example, had average temps in the mid to low 20's during all of January.  In Indiana, South Bend receive over 60 inches of snow that January, and more than 136" of snow over that winter.  Fort Wayne had similar numbers, with avg temps that January of around 17 degrees.

So...when the weatherman issued a winter storm alert the day before, predicting a few inches of snow, there was a general sense of stoic resignation and "same old, same old."  The weather forecasters didn't realize how bad it was going to be, and people at home had grown somewhat jaded by what had already been a long stretch of cold, snowy weather.

The storm began as two separate low pressure systems.  One, coming down out of Canada (known as an "Alberta Clipper), had a huge mass of frigid arctic air that was pouring south into the upper Plains and Minnesota on the wings of a strong jet stream.  The other began in East Texas and Louisiana, with an equally huge low pressure system pushing wet air from the Gulf easterly towards Georgia.  It's not uncommon for two separate systems like this to unfold simultaneously during the winter.  What is uncommon is for them to converge, with the upper level jet streams syncing in a way that unifies them into one massive storm system.  The weather modeling tools at the time simply couldn't predict that.

By The Numbers

The raw numbers of the Blizzard of 1978 tell one tale.  And it's a tale worth recounting.  By the late afternoon/early evening of January 25, outposts in Indiana presaged the scope of what was about to unfold.  Snow accumulation set records that would stand for more than 30 years.  But it wasn't so much the amount of was the fact that it was driven by such high winds.  This blizzard has been described as a "White Hurricane", and that's no exaggeration.  The winds were gale force.  Sustained winds in excess of 40 MPH.  There were wind gusts measured in excess of 100 MPH.  The snow didn't fall down, in soft, large, wet flakes.  It was driven by high winds.  In frigid cold.  It was granular.  It met the ground in a horizontal direction, and for anyone outside whose face was unprotected, it felt like you were being sandblasted instead of snowed upon.

Muskegon, Michigan, which sits upon the Lake, registered more than 30 inches of snow on Jan 26.  Many, many localities were seeing snowfall in excess of 2 inches per hour, and it lasted most of a 24 hour period.  But the snow, being so dry and wind driven, was fickle...some areas that were level had vast stretches of area that were left barren of snow, because the temps dropped so suddenly, while it drifted mercilessly in other areas to heights up to 25 feet.  As a result of the sustained winds, the snow was not your usual "pure white" drift.  It was mixed with pine needles, leaves, duff, even bark...and piled up in a dirty mix that left some houses covered up to their roofline on one side, and bereft of snow on the other.

The official estimate is that some 70 to 80 people perished in this blizzard.  There were, undoubtably, many more.  Ohio alone accounted for 51 of those deaths.  How did they die?  By the official count:

22 died while walking away from vehicles they have abandoned.
13 died inside of their stranded cars, either from exposure or carbon monoxide fumes.
13 died inside of their homes which had lost heat.
2 died when the buildings they were inside of collapsed under the stress of snow and wind.
1 died from "unspecified causes."

There were almost certainly more.  Unlike today, the deaths attributed to this storm had to meet a "higher standard" of causality in order to be ascribed to the storm.  There were almost certainly several others who died from heart attacks, either from shoveling snow from their driveways, or from other stress related to the storm's aftermath.  Some probably died due to complications of existing health conditions that went untreated in the immediate aftermath of the storm, because of their inability to leave the house to seek medical attention.

When the storm unfolded, it unfolded with such rapidity that local weathermen were shocked.  In Akron, the barometric pressure dropped so suddenly and so wildly that the instrument that recorded such swings was unable to capture the full magnitude of the pressure drop on its chart paper.  It literally went off the chart, and the local weatherman had to recallibrate the instrument and load a second, double width paper in order to get an accurate reading.  There were many weather stations that measured a drop in barometric pressure of 40 millibars within the period of less than 24 hours as the storm passed through.   In Cleveland, Ohio, the lowest pressure recorded was 958 mb, a (non-tropical) record for the US that stood until just 2 years ago.

There have been other storms that have dropped more snow, but this particular storm was more than the sum of its parts.  It wasn't just the snowfall, which was was the sustained winds, which were high, the duration of the event, the cold temps, the power outages, phone outages, snow drifts of more than 25 ft, the impact upon our transportation infrastructure at the time.  It took several days to recover from these things, and required the National Guard and its, at the time, substantial assets in terms of equipment and manpower.

But as I mentioned, the really fascinating aspects of this storm or to be found on a more macro level.  One can't help, when reading accounts of the event, but to wonder how such an event might play out today.  Much has changed.  

The technology of weather forecasting has improved dramatically over the past 34 years.  A storm such as this would never catch us by surprise again.  It would be endlessly hyped for 3 days in advance, if not more, in the 24 hour news cycle.  In 1978 there was no 24 hour news cycle.  But there were local radio stations, which had real, live staff and deejays.  Today?  When's the last time you scanned the AM and FM radio dials on your radio and tried to find local news?  I remember many of the stations in Columbus abandoning their formats and just doing nonstop news and community service announcements.  They became almost a lifeline for some people.

1978 was the dark ages before cell phones, remember.  In fact, we were all still renting our land line phones from Ma Bell, whose monopoly wouldn't be broken up for another six years.  Hundreds of thousands lost phone service (not to mention power) during the storm.  People who got stranded on the road, or at work, or who sought shelter with strangers were in many instances unable to contact their family members to let them know they were okay.  Without cell phones or texting, radio became a means of getting word out.

In reading all of the many first hand accounts posted in comments to news articles, one image that sort of took shape for me was that the almost sea change that has occurred in the generational attitudes and response to events like this.  People woke up that morning, looking outside and said damn...this is going to be bad.  And then they got the snow shovel started clearing the driveway, while mulling in their mind the best way to get to work.  To be sure, this storm closed down a lot of business and transportation.  But I can remember trudging to the grocery store on foot, and I wasn't alone.  It's remarkable how many people attempted and managed to make it in to their workplace, because it was just what you did.  Some of them made that effort only to find out when they got there that the business was going to close, and they had to make it back home again.

Schools did close, but there were thousands and thousands of kids that walked to school that day, because this was before buses were used to take kids in the city to their local schools, and there was no radio or TV announcements about school closures.  The kids got up, Mom gave them a hot bowl of oatmeal and told them to bundle up good, and sent them off to school.  Of the 70 people who died in the storm, none were kids who perished in the snow on their way to school.

Now?  In Oregon, I think it is written into the state constitution that in the event of snow accumulations in excess of 1.5 inches, all private and public entities close down.  2 inches or more, and the Governor must immediately request federal disaster status. There has, all sarcasm aside, been a noticeable evolution over the past 4 decades in what is considered an acceptable risk and inconvenience factor in the face of weather events such as these.  I'll just leave it at that.

So...where were you in 1978?  Were you in the path of either of those two huge blizzards, or not yet a gleam in your parents' eyes?  Maybe you were on of the thousands of "Blizzard Babies"  born in October and November of that year?

7:19 AM PT: I want to thank everyone who contributed a story's been fun reading them all and getting a sense of where people I know only by their screen names and comments over the years were at the time.

Originally posted to Keith930 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 03:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Central Ohio Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And then there were the birds... (115+ / 0-)

    This storm was so severe, and the winter as a whole was so snowy, that some species of birds were decimated.  One reason the Bobwhite quail populations dropped so dramatically has been traced back to this storm, and the starving of many birds in its aftermath.

    Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 03:03:18 AM PST

  •  I Think It Was That Storm (32+ / 0-)

    I recall going to this place, a place I went to a lot, and jumping off a 40-50 foot tressel into the drifts. Kind of makes me sad. Nobody, and my parents loved me, it was a time where I was just allowed to just "roam!" Sure maybe luck I didn't break my back dong this, but alas nice I was given the chance to just do shit.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 03:18:40 AM PST

  •  I was a 7 year old 2nd grader in CT (31+ / 0-)

    The school bus couldn't make it down the narrow country road I lived on, so I was dropped off almost a mile from home and forced to walk.

    I remember the wind almost knocking me down. The visibility was really bad, but I had the presence of mind to stay on the road by feeling for the pavement. I couldn't see very far in front of me, so when my feet hit grass I knew to find the road again.

    My mother chewed out the bus company for dropping me off in the middle of a blizzard almost a mile from home, but I don't think the bus would have made it down our road.

    The days after the storm were fun, too. The drifts were so high, my sister and I could climb them and see in the 2nd story of the house.

  •  I also remember 1967 (32+ / 0-)

    in January...a very similar Michigan.  We lived near Michigan State University at the time and had no children, yet.  Hubby helped turn two big buses of a choir around in our town where the main highway was closed with two feet of snow and sent them back to MSU.  Cars were buried there, too.  

    I also remember at Easter in 1978 I had saved my subbing money and I told my hubby we were not using it for groceries, but to go South because of how bad the winter had been.  I have a picture of hubby outside with a yard stick measuring the snow and it was nearly three feet deep.  My 2 year old son couldn't play in the back yard because the snow was over his head most of the winter.

    We went to New Orleans.   It was glorious.  

    We went to the Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile, too, and they apologized for not having as many flowers as usual.  I thought they had lots and I said I would be happy just with green grass.

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 03:42:53 AM PST

  •  I remember that blizzard... (23+ / 0-)

    I was in college in central Massachusetts. Lived in three story tenement with about 20 other students. We played cards, had a moving party cleaning out all the food everyone had. We smoked and drank and had a grand old time.

    All roads in Massachusetts were closed, but some of the roads were reasonably clear, so we were able to walk up to the Store24 (like a 7 - 11) which remained open as wind the first night took out their front glass. They patched it with wood, and then couldn't leave, so supplies were available.

    I remember it well....

  •  I was 29 in Midtown Manhattan (22+ / 0-)

    I had gone to work that morning because I could walk there, and they announced the office was closed at around 10:30.  I did some shopping, and then (and I have NO idea how Jim knew I'd be walking on 57th Street) I ran into Jim almost in front of the now defunct Irish Pavilion at around 12:15.  We spent the afternoon there, eating and mostly drinking. We lived three blocks away, so getting home wasn't a real issue even though there was all that snow on the ground.

    -7.75, -8.10; Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:10:08 AM PST

  •  nothing like scheduling your gallery opening (16+ / 0-)

    and designing the announcement to show cape cod as having the alps -- and then have it seem to come true.

    people were blowing around all over.
    not too many hills on the cape, but we had the biggest.
    then, elsewhere, people created igloos.

    pioneers always remembered to pack whiskey.
    artists go hiking in cemeteries without losing digits.
    the ice... the ice... it burned.

    * Join: The Action: End the Bush Tax Cuts for Richest Two Percent * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:11:40 AM PST

  •  I was in my 8th month of my 1st pregnancy (30+ / 0-)

    and living in a suburb of Boston when that Feb 78 Blizzard struck.

    My husband worked a 2nd job which was located about 3-4 miles from our home.

    He called me at 11pm and asked me to shovel the driveway so that he would not have to park on the street and shovel.  He was afraid the plows would not see the car.  There were white-out conditions.

    I shoveled the entrance to our damned driveway once an hour for six hours, which is how long it took him to drive those few miles home.  He got home just before daybreak.

    He was exhausted as was I.  I was surprised that all that shoveling didn't cause me to slip into labor.

    The snow piles along the roadways were so high that cars put tennis balls on top of the antennae so that you could tell when someone was approaching an intersection.

    A State of Emergency was called and everyone had a week off.  You had to show that you were 'essential' personnel in order to drive on the roads that week.

    And I can still see Dukakis on the TV in his sweater, letting us all know what was happening.

    I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

    by DamselleFly on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:13:45 AM PST

  •  Dad and I completely missed that one. We (17+ / 0-)

    lived in the UK from 1977 to 1979. I was doing my dissertation research on a Fulbright, and dad was writing up his dissertation. He had done his research in Iraq and Israel in 1976.

  •  I was seven years old (15+ / 0-)

    and clearly remember the snow reaching almost as high as the windows in my second floor bedroom in my parent's house.  I remember walking down what looked like a canyon carved from the snow on the sidewalks of our suburban New Jersey neighborhood as it was shoveled out by the grown ups.  I was never too tall, but i clearly remember the snow being well above my head.  For me too, this blizzard remains the benchmark for snowfall and has not yet been replicated.  

    Thanks for nuthin' and go f&#;k yourself! - Uncle Shoehorn Motto

    by antonrobb on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:21:51 AM PST

  •  Panama City Beach, Florida (13+ / 0-)

    where there were 70 mph winds coming off the gulf all day.  My family was in Wood County, Ohio, one of the areas hit hardest by the storm. My brother had a 4-wheel drive truck, which was not all that common back then, and rescued many people from farm houses.

    We all stand submissively before the global ATM machine network like trained chickens pecking the correct colored buttons to release our grains of corn. Joe Bageant

    by Zwoof on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:22:21 AM PST

  •  The entire state of Rhode Island suffered group (28+ / 0-)

    PTSD from this storm. That year my husband and I were out west and missed it, but when we returned the next year we were treated to the stories of people sleeping in Department stores, strangers taking in strangers, children trapped in school buses, cars abandoned, etc. etc.

    But the aftermath was that for the next couple of decades, Rhode Islanders flinched at the first snowflake and couldn't close the schools, shut the businesses and strip the stores fast enough. Then they all stayed home gazing out the window drinking the milk and munching on the bread they had risked life and limb to obtain while a completely ordinary little 6-12" of snow fell.  

    A transplanted Southerner,for years post blizzard I was often the sole employee intrepid enough to venture forth to work, only to find the  business deserted and my "hardy New Englander" co-workers calling in even if they lived a short distance away.

    The difference being that they had lived thrugh the Blizzard and I hadn't and they remembered that the Blizzard started out the same way, just an innocuous normal average snowstorm and they weren't going to fall for that line again, no not evah!

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:46:51 AM PST

  •  Living in Medina, Ohio (18+ / 0-)

    There was a car dealership that had a deal in the paper on a brand new 4 x 4 Ford F150.  You had to order the truck which took 6 wks to deliver but cost only $5K.  We climbed in our Toyota Celica that morning and went to the dealership......then the storm hit.  I was holding our baby tight to me as we drove the many miles home.  The whole point to ordering this truck was because of the bad winter storms and the threat of the national guard having to come dig people out.  I also remember the brown outs where we would only have electricity for so long then it would be out for 4 hours.   We moved in 1979 to Southern Mo. to get away from this constant winter storm threat.

    Time passes and we then moved to TX gulf coast.....OMG, hurricanes, tropical storms, floods you name it.   Even the joy of gridlock of I45 trying to evacuate going nowhere for 12 hours.

    Life is a crapshoot....God Bless the Electric Company Linemen and the grocery store....they don't get the credit they are due!!!!

  •  Blizzard of '66 in NY (7+ / 0-)

    Only time I saw gasoline freeze and erupt out of abandoned car. Great time for a youngster safe at home and a few days off from school as bigger and bigger plows tried to get thru drifts on Five Mile Line Rd.   Article

    Hey! Where did the ads go???

    by PHScott on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:58:57 AM PST

  •  I was in NH (18+ / 0-)

    I was a sophomore in high school.  I think we were out of school for 2 or 3 days.  Back then NH prided itself on snow removal so we really didn't miss much school at all.  And yes, we walked to school.

    I remember watching the tv about Massachusetts and being shocked.  They were out of school for so long.  They received less snow than we did but they couldn't get the roads cleared.  People abandoned cars on Route 128 and made their way to the homes of strangers.  They were taken in and fed; some of them formed longstanding friendships between the rescued and the rescuers.

    Here, where I live now, the ocean was a factor.  Many homes, just beach shacks really, were heavily damaged.  The damage wasn't as bad as it was for the No Name storm in 1991.

    The wind is blowing 35 mph outside the house right now and we are waiting to see how much coastal flooding we will be dealing with in another hour or so.

    For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die--Ted Kennedy

    by sobermom on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:59:02 AM PST

  •  I was 13 in Massachusetts (15+ / 0-)

    I had a horse, and the snow was so high that I couldn't open the stall door. And the stable's water pump froze, so we had to fill plastic milk jugs with water from home and drag them down to the barn on a sled (about a mile). We started with boiling water and by the time we got to the barn the jugs would be almost frozen.

  •  1978.... (14+ / 0-)

    I had just moved to Boston in December with friends.
    We had just gone through the January snowstorm, it was a snowstorm that snarled traffic, but not a HUGE mess.  (I had moved from Vermont and it was, after all, winter, and snow was to be expected).
    The February snowstorm was a whopper!  Cars stranded on RT 128 around Boston, cars buried in snow up to their roofs where they were parked on the streets.
    We were out early that day, but got home on one of the last trolleys.  We spent the next 4 days playing lots of board games, and waiting (we had canned food and we did share with the other 5 apartments in the building, but to this day I still can't look at canned ravioli!).  I don't remember losing power because I know I watched the Governor, Michael Dukakis (in his sweater!) on TV.  My car was buried outside my apartment, and we had to wait for the National Guard to plow. We finally walked cross town to other friends' apartment and then into Boston itself.  On the side streets in Brighton you could walk down the center of the street and see the roofs of the cars parked on either side.
    Because we were young, hadn't started our jobs yet, were home, had heat and enjoyed partying with the other folks in the building it wasn't a terrible ordeal.
    For many others not as fortunate, it wasn't fun at all.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

    by Lilyvt on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:04:55 AM PST

  •  18 At College In Westchester County, NY (11+ / 0-)

    Classes cancelled. Using cafeteria lunch trays as sleds. Using the window ledge outside dorm room as a freezer. Smoking weed and drinking blackberry brandy.  

  •  Third grade in Alpena, MI then (17+ / 0-)

    and what I remember is snow literally up to the roof line of our subdivision's ranch homes.

    The fun part as a kid were the digging out parties...groups of neighbors would descend upon one driveway and dig it out. Traipse into the house and be served cocoa and cookies while warming up. Then back out to the next house to do it all over again.

    As a kid it seemed normal and fun but looking back as an adult I can only marvel at the sense of community that subdivision must have had!

    I also remember using my wide plastic 'skis' to get to school for the next week or so...probably weren't needed past the first couple of days but it seemed so cool to use them!

  •  When the snow first started here in SE MI (7+ / 0-)

    It was very wet and slushy. When I left for work at 5:30 AM I fell on the front steps and had to go back inside and change into dry clothes. That was fortunate, because in that short amount of time the snow plow went by my house and plowed my driveway closed and I had to stay put.

    When it was all over with, I think we got 26 inches of snow, and the world ground to a halt for days. It was an uncommon storm.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.--Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, scene 5

    by Ooooh on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:10:15 AM PST

  •  I am a bit (11+ / 0-)

    surprised no one has mentioned the blizzard of 74. I was 18, my freshman year in college. It hit the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. I was driving from Columbus to Ann Arbor-took 8 hours to drive from Columbus to Toledo. Then they closed all of the roads down. We slept in the car until a pickup truck came and rescued us at 3 in the morning.

    They took us to a local high school where the Red Cross had set up a shelter. We had coffee and chili and were finally able to call my parents and tell them where we were.

    When we got back to the car the next day someone had vandalized the car. We finally got back to Ann Arbor on Tuesday.

    Inconceivable! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by hopeful on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:16:21 AM PST

  •  It was a life changing event for me... (9+ / 0-)

    ...a young carolina boy in a strange place.

    I was working for a company that sold industrial laundry machinery and we were installing a system in a hospital in dayton.

    My partner and i talked the boss into taking us to a bar the first night of the storm and and i vaguely remember, after a good bit of drinking, taking a shortcut through the snow trying to get back to our hotel and realizing we were walking across a lake! We could've disappeared that night for sure.

    We were at the mercy of the boss as to where we went and what we did during our down time and after a couple weeks, we demanded our paychecks. He finally agreed and when we got them and cashed them, we both got a bottle of jack daniels and sat in our hotel room all night talking shit and came up with the idea of quitting and going home. The next morning we took a taxi to the airport and flew home, neither one of us has talked to the boss about our intentions yet.

    Our abrupt departure from the job made it difficult to find another job but, luck and friends in the right places helped me find a new boss, and a new line of work, which which has served me well to this day.

    Thanks to the blizzard of '78!

    Just one condensed account of an event in an interesting, eventful life.

    Thanks for the recollection!

    Rule #7...If you supported the Iraq war, you don't get to complain about the national debt.

    by suspiciousmind on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:19:15 AM PST

  •  I was living in Grand Forks, ND (12+ / 0-)

    and that was the coldest year I have lived yet.  We had just moved from Khartoum, Sudan (hot, hot, hot and dry) where we had lived for three years and then to go to Grand Forks was just brutal.  Our blizzard happened the week before Thanksgiving in 1977 and we didn't see the ground again until April, 1978.  

  •  I was 8 years old when that storm hit. Lived in (7+ / 0-)

    eastern KY. I remember there was a lot of snow on the ground, and some of our relatives on my mom's side of the family had come down to visit, and couldn't get home. A few older people living in the area died during that storm. I remember my dad talking about it. Everything was shut down, even the coal trains.

  •  I was only three when it happened (6+ / 0-)

    But I still hear people talking about it. My husband (21 yrs older) was working at the state hospital on the hilltop.. Had to stay there for three days.

  •  I had moved from Boston to Los Angeles (5+ / 0-)

    So I watched the news on TV and smiled.

  •  I Was Born During That Blizzard :) n/t (15+ / 0-)

    Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

    by TooFolkGR on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:46:57 AM PST

  •  I remember it much as you do (12+ / 0-)

    Not much said on the 6 o'clock news, but I remember our local weatherman saying a blizzard was coming at 11pm. I went to bed after the news and it was rainy turning to heavy wet snow coming down fast. I woke up somewhere around 3-4am and went into the living room and holy was like a moonscape out there. The power was off and the wind was just howling, with drifts piling up in waves on our street. The worst thing I remember was venturing out a couple of days later.  Before the temperature fell, the traffic had put deep ruts in  the heavy wet snow that then froze into iron hard trenches. It was tough going driving on that.
     An Aunt and Uncle had gone to Michigan on a short vacation and we were house sitting. They lived far back off the road (600') and their gravel drive was impassable. My poor Dad went up and found a pipe had frozen and burst in a bathroom while the power was off, and we had to struggle walking many times back that long drive to get it all cleaned up and put in order. I love winter, but that storm was straight from hell.

  •  I was working in Northwestern Ohio (10+ / 0-)

    early in my career.  The mayors closed the towns in the area.  No one was permitted to drive for four or five days depending on the town.  The only stores or businesses allowed to open were grocery stores.  

    Power was out 12 to 60 hours.  One person died in their front yard as they couldn't find their way back to their house.  Many burned anything they could find in their fireplaces to keep warm.  

    I remember as others do the night before was raining and snow was predicted.  I woke up to get ready for work and saw the snow but didn't realize how bad it was until a friend of mine stopped me from trying to drive as the mayor had shut down the town.  

    One radio station was broadcasting 10 minutes each hour to save fuel as they were using a generator.  We would all gather around my battery operatored radio each hour to listen to the updates.  Many places had snow over 5 feet.  The power company was using snowmobiles to get to problem areas.  

    For many hours on that day you could not see more than two to three feet.  If you went outside you had to stay close to a building or risk getting lost.  

  •  I was in grad school in western Mass. (10+ / 0-)

    A different unrelated  storm hit New England and the Northeast  really hard about 10 days later.  Boston got over two feet of snow and many people were stranded on the Mass Pike.  UMass Amherst suspended classes.  I lived off campus (about 5 miles from the campus) and neither I nor my roomate could get out for a couple of days.  So, we went cross-country skiing.

  •  I was a young teen in rural West Central IN (8+ / 0-)

    We had just moved into a house atop a hill on 30 acres. The fenceline between our property and the next was invisible, buried under drifting snow. The entrance to our walkout basement was completely filled  by drifting snow, to the point that I could walk up the drift and look in the 1st-floor window.

    We had an 800-foot gravel driveway, and it took the 4 of us  4 days to make it passable, even with a tractor/plow. Three days in, a neighbor showed up on a snowmobile with basic provisions, the most memorable of which were my mom's cigarettes.

    IIRC, our school was closed for a full week, which was unheard of before or since.

  •  I remember that storm (8+ / 0-)

    I was visiting my parents in Cleveland who live by the lake and the wind was amazing.  Indeed, the weathermen were saying that the barometric pressure was so low, that it would have measured as a hurricane in the summertime.

    I was in a front (north-facing) bedroom and there was an enormous oak tree that had been failing for years right outside of the window.  I was sure that tree was coming down and I grabbed the port-a-crib and tried to run through the door, only to find the threshold slightly smaller than the width of the port-a-crib and smacked it hard.  The baby was less than pleased.  

    That storm hit us about 4:00am.  Some brave souls managed to get to work downtown that day where they were stuck for four days.  

  •  My late mother sent me an email (12+ / 0-)

    on the 25th anniversary of the blizzard of '78. What stuck in her mind was that we had to open a window on the enclosed porch for me to climb out, so I could shovel the snow blocking the door.

    My best memory from the storm was the desk officer's response when I called the local police department on day 2 to see if it was safe to drive to the grocery store in the center. Local newcasters were warning people to stay off the roads. But our little town had pretty good street clearing at that time. This is what he said:

    Are the roads safe? Well, let me look out the window and see....I see some people walking, and there are a couple of folks on cross-country skis, oh, and there are a bunch of cars. Looks fine. Yup, I think it is okay to run to the store.

    Revenge is a dish best served on White House china.

    by RickBoston on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:14:13 AM PST

  •  Was in Ann Arbor during 78 blizzard (13+ / 0-)

    First job out of nursing school - in the ICU Burn Unit.   Saw the drifts early in the morning and thought I should try to walk.  As I was getting ready, there was a loud bang on my apt door. Opened it to a soldier in full camouflage - he was dispatched to get me to the hospital at U of M.  Carried me out on his shoulders to some sort of amphibious vehicle.

    He said no other nurses were able or willing to cover for the nurses in the burn unit.    Stayed two days and was delivered back home the same way.

    My brand new Honda car was buried for 8 days!

  •  I used to have a sweatshirt from that storm (4+ / 0-)

    My Great Aunt and my second cousins lived in Buffalo NY, and she would always send sweatshirts with the slogans of the storms on them. My Grandfather got stuck in one one year he was back there visiting. He eventually came home and tell us for the next month how smart he had been to get out of NY (he raised his family in northern california)

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:16:07 AM PST

  •  12" last night in NY but much better prepared (7+ / 0-)

    Last time I was up there in the winter the plows and salt are out early in advance. Ann's kids are off to work right on time, both driving a ways.

    sure is pretty --

    Hey! Where did the ads go???

    by PHScott on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:17:24 AM PST

  •  memorable storm... (9+ / 0-)

    I was in my third year at Michigan State and that storm sticks out for a lot of reasons. For one, MSU and GM (where I was working at the time) shut down for three days giving me a three day vacation.  That's  almost unheard of.  MSU has only shut down a few times in its history and never before for more than a day.  GM shuts down a bit more often in bad weather due to its drawing of a work force from a much larger area along with supplier problems, but still, 3 days was extremely rare.  The mounds of snow were monumental.  People were skiing down the sides of them (short ski trip, but still). I remember walking (more accurately, plodding) to the only place open, the Dunkin Donuts on Michigan Avenue and watching the Governor at the time, Bill Milliken, go to work in his mauve tank (unarmed, of course. I think rick snyder's is fully functional.  If it isn't, it should be).

    It was also a memorable event because of the ensuing flooding that spring.  I lived in a lower section close to the Red Cedar river and the flood waters that spring were just incredible.  Drowned out a large section of the east side of Lansing and a good part of campus as well.  That was a real dilly of a storm.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:17:43 AM PST

  •  I remember this! Epic (11+ / 0-)

    I was 7 years old, and honestly it was just amazing.  I was in metro Detroit for it.

    We like so many lost power, so we used our fireplace for heat and to cook.  We had to empty out the frig/freezer, and even our old huge freezer in the garage and store roasts etc in the snow, or cook them to be sure they did not spoil.  My parents had just gone in with some other relatives on buying a whole butchered cow so we had a ton of meat.  We went visiting relatives for massiver stew making parties, needed candles, had DAYS off school, went sledding....serious as it was, from a kids perspective it was magical, beautiful, survivalist, and just epic.  Deep deep snow and then ice everywhere on everything, it was a fantasy land and hot chocolate was a food group.

    We know it as The Ice Storm, and yes, capital letters, a tone of voice are enough.

    "They have tried to sell us this trickle-down, tax-cut fairy dust before. And guess what? It does not work. It didn't work then, it won't work now." --Barack Obama

    by lizah on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:19:26 AM PST

  •  It was especially bad here in Boston (7+ / 0-)

    And in RI & CT because a little over two weeks prior to the February 5-7 "Blizzard Of '78" the area had another major storm Jan. 20-21 that dumped 21.4" across the region.

    We already had close to three feet on the ground when February 5th arrived. There was literally no place to put it all.  The coastal towns have the luxury of dumping into the ocean but inland it was a disaster.

    I'm still in the same location....about 5 miles outside of Boston.  It was great as a thirteen year-old since we didn't have school for over a week.  One downside was we couldn't make any money shoveling.  There was simply too much snow to move and no place to put it.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot

    by paulitics on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:30:47 AM PST

  •  It's funny ... (4+ / 0-)

    but I was living in upstate New York then, and I have no memories of how it affected us. I suppose that's because 10-12 inches was normal and we were all used to it, and even two feet was something we got every other year.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:35:11 AM PST

  •  Changed my life...really. (13+ / 0-)

    I was living in Leominster, MA, going to Fitchburg State College.

    I was a commuter and got trapped in my Mom's house for several days. Bored out of my mind, I picked up the Christmas gift my sister Susan had given me: the Ballantine boxed set of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings."

    When I got back to college the following week, I changed my major.

  •  I remember that storm (7+ / 0-)

    well. I lived in an apartment building in Flint, and my workplace was closed for two or three days. No way to drive anywhere, so we walked to the 7-11, which was open since the manager couldn't make it home anyway. Lived on frozen pizza and microwave burritos for the duration. Large amounts of peyote buttons were involved too, but it would take a diary to describe that part...

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:53:09 AM PST

  •  I was living in Indiana at the time (7+ / 0-)

    Looking back now I can't believe I did this but I walked to work. I just about didn't make it as I about froze. I ducked into a gas station on the way there. My mustache was froze solid and when I tried to remove the ice with my fingers part of it broke off. When I finally made it to work no one was there. I have never seen anything like it before or since.

    Conservatives want to shrink the size of government until it will fit in a vagina.

    by rmonroe on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:55:30 AM PST

  •  The entire winter (6+ / 0-)

    had a record amount of snowfall.  It was gruesome, so many car accidents.  The snow was piled so high, you couldn't see around the corner for oncoming cars.  You had to inch out into the intersection, and by the time you saw the car (or truck), it was too late to avoid an accident.

    Regarding that specific storm, I hadn't even been paying attention to the weather forecasts, so didn't know we were in for any snow at all.  Within the first couple of hours of the storm, I had gone to do my weekly grocery shopping, and I remember after I was done having difficulties getting out of the parking lot.

    Hours later, I remember looking out my front window thinking, "Well, if we're going to be snow-bound, at least we've got plenty of food".

  •  I was 8 (6+ / 0-)

    I can still see the massive snow tufted icicles sagging the power lines and every branch and twig on every tree. And digging cavernous snow forts into the mountains of parking lot plow piles near our home in the aftermath. Winter wonderland.

    We lost power for days and my mother, having just come into some extra dough, shacked us all up in the Hyatt Regency hotel in Dearborn MI, near her work. Me and my six siblings had the run of the place. Great memories. Great buffet.

    I think we may have traveled to Disney World that year or close to it, and it snowed a fraction of an inch in Clearwater Fl. while we were there with relatives. Hehe. We laughed.

  •  Fighting a house fire. (10+ / 0-)

    Plowed our way in, waded through snow with hoses to the house, and large hoses to our source of water.

    Hose it down, move on, the wind blows 40mph and it catches fire from the embers again.  Turn-around, hose it again.

    The spray mist forms a 1/4 inch layer of ice over your coat, and you have to have it smacked-off with a spanner before you can unbuckle the fasteners.

  •  I do remember that one. (7+ / 0-)

    I was in Boston (Brookline to be exact) at the time. The whole Boston area was shut down for a week. Quiet, clean air, people skiing down Beacon Street. Many of our friends went without electricity and heat for days. We were lucky.

    I remember walking with a couple of friends from Washington Square in Brookline to Kenmore Square to do something or other in Cambridge. The trolleys were not running overground. But it was beautiful, as things much easily are when you are 21.

    curious portal - to a world of paintings, lyric-poems, art writing, and graphic and web design

    by asterkitty on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:09:28 AM PST

  •  It happened on my 8th birthday (5+ / 0-)

    as I lived in, you guessed it, Indianapolis.

    The snow came up to our second floor apartment windows!

  •  I was a senior in HS (4+ / 0-)

    that year. I just remember mountains of snow on the streets and being stuck inside for the better part of a week. We lived on top of a huge hill off one of the main thoroughfares out of town, and there was no way school buses were coming up that hill, so we didn't even have to ask if there was school. Nobody I knew was driving up or down, so we had a nice little break.

    Heh--that was also the year I discovered pot. Damn, that made cookies and hot chocolate taste soooo much better :))

    It is time to #Occupy Media.

    by lunachickie on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:14:23 AM PST

  •  South Central PA (8+ / 0-)

    As the storm rolled in, a friend of ours called and said he was worried that he wouldn't have enough athsma inhaler to make it through. The wife and I drove into town, got the inhaler and headed back into the country to deliver with the hope of making it back home. Fat chance. We got to the top of the hill above our friend's house and that was it. We were pushing snow with our windshield it seemed by then and the mighty Blazer had finally met its match.

    We trudged down the hill and to the old farm house and spent the night safe and warm. The next morning greeted us with brilliant blue skies and a five mile hike back to our house. It turned out not to be a hike. More like a swim on top of feet and feet of snow where just the very top of stop signs poked out from beneath the snow.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam this Holiday Season!

    by randallt on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:14:29 AM PST

  •  I was eleven in a Boston suburb (7+ / 0-)

    My mother sent us out to shovel during the storm to get a head start. I thought the wind was going to carry me away! My father worked in downtown Boston. He was able to get to his mother's house in Roslindale. After three day with his mother he walked 20 miles home. Then I think he slept for two days.  Me and my sisters dragged a sled to Stop and Shop for whatever essentials were still avalable.  We also built the best snow fort that must have lasted to the end of February.

  •  Indianapolis, 1978 (11+ / 0-)

    Just like the diarist describes, there was not a lot of warning.  I recall coming home about 6 PM from a HS sports practice.  It was beginning to drizzle and it was warmish.  One the things that made this storm so bad is that it started as rain, which soaked the ground and wet the streets.  This transitioned to a brief period of wet, slushy snow.

    Then, the temperatures plummeted, the rain and slush froze, and the winds roared in.  The undercoat of water ensured that, even after the snowdrifts were removed with plows, there was a thick layer of ice and frozen slush underneath.  Streets in Indy were ice-covered for more than a week.

    The winters of '77, '78, and '79 were freakin' cold in Indy, probably colder than any winters since.  After the '78 blizzard, I have the following memories:

    1.  I got up that next morning and walked up a snowdrift onto the roof of our house.  Never done that before or since.

    2.  Dad was a smoker (this was before anti-smoking campaigns had had much effect).  On day 2 after the storm, Dad set out on foot in search of cigarettes.  His trip was made easier because a small lake separated him and the convenience store, and it was frozen.  That lake froze solid all three of those winters ('77-'79), but it has not frozen enough since to allow you to walk on it.

    3.  Doing endless jigsaw puzzles while listening to the radio weather and school closing reports.  This went on for more than a week.  These are happy memories for a kid who did not particularly like school.

    All forms of fundamentalist thought breed magical thinking.

    by YankInUK on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:25:23 AM PST

  •  Hmmm... (4+ / 0-)
    In Oregon, I think it is written into the state constitution that in the event of snow accumulations in excess of 1.5 inches, all private and public entities close down.  2 inches or more, and the Governor must immediately request federal disaster status.
    Methinks you live in the Willamette Valley. The mountains are known for accumulating, well, a bit more snow than that.
  •  I was in Michigan (5+ / 0-)

    and I remember the mountains of snow - and no school. More vivid memory is the ice storm in 1976 - my sister and I were awakened by what sounded like a motorcycle trying to start & was actually branches breaking off the huge trees on a neighboring golf course. Even though the consequences were great it was incredible beautiful.

    I'm pretty tired of being told what I care about.

    by hulibow on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:30:19 AM PST

  •  Buffalo NY 1977 (4+ / 0-)

    Lived in a house built about 1900. Long narrow house on a street with other long narrow houses.  Between each house there was about 12 feet which had a driveway to the rear yard garage and about 2 feet of space on either side of the asphalt.  After the earlier January snows the space on the sides were already piled with snow so when the additional snow came, each shovel full had to carried to either the front yard or back yard for disposal.

     Nice review

  •  I remember it well. (5+ / 0-)

    I was 12 years old and in 7th grade.  The school I attended was over a mile from our house, and that first day back at school, it was an adventure trying to walk to school.  Sidewalks were covered with snow, and I had to make a choice to either try to trudge through on the sidewalk in my Wolverines or to walk in the street.  This was largely dictated by whether there were footprints in the snow from others who walked there before.  I got to school, maybe a little later than usual, but I made it.

    For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. --John Maynard Keynes

    by Kurt from CMH on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:35:25 AM PST

  •  I Remember the '78 Blizzard! (5+ / 0-)

    It was the last major snowstorm I ever lived through, since a few months later I graduated from high school and headed off to California.  We certainly got nothing in Brooklyn, NY like what you describe, but we got enough for them to do the unthinkable in NYC (at that time):  cancel school! It was like 15-20 inches of snow if I remember it right.  Man, I loved it.  We went kid crazy nuts, once we actually managed to get outside; the snow had pretty much buried the stoop and stairs from our brownstone and although the stairs got shoveled, it was so cold they took on a sheen of ice that if you weren't careful you could break your neck on it.  Snowball fights, snowmen, snow angels, covered our entire ghetto block.  It was the last time I really remember being a kid, even though I was still only 16.  

    Thank you so much for sharing your memory of that winter.

  •  I was in Bloomington, IN (8+ / 0-)

    in graduate school. I was snug in my apartment during the storm, had phone and power and plenty of beer.

    What I remember most vividly, and will remember all of my life, was the aftermath. The next day I had a dinner invite at a professor's house about 10 blocks away. I started out in early-afternoon. Snowplows had scraped a path down the middle of the main drag, so it was possible to walk there, but everywhere else the snow was chest-high. There were no cars visible, and drifts had covered over almost everything recognizable. It was a moonscape! I had to walk pretty slowly, as it was icy. It was utterly silent, and I saw only one or two other people out there. The sky was bleak and gray, almost like it wanted to snow again. The walk home was even spookier, as it was getting dark.

    The university was closed for two weeks because they didn't have enough coal to heat the buildings. I think there was a coal strike involved, too? As a result I lived in a little silent  bubble of time with no place to go and nothing to do, except read and read.

    Although I grew up in eastern Iowa and had seen many big snowstorms with high winds, and although later I lived in upstate New York where we saw huge snowfalls (40" in one day, can't remember what year) nothing, NOTHING can compare to the blizzard of '78. It was strange and powerful and different.

    I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

    by sillia on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:52:39 AM PST

  •  I was age 11, in a suburb outside Boston, (4+ / 0-)

    and we lived in a small Cape Cod type house wedged into the side of a hill.  The winds were so strong and one-directional that the entire front door and steps of our house were swept clean, but the entire back side of the house was crazy-packed with snowdrifts -- like a continuous white geometric form leading down, triangle-like, from the roof right down to the back yard.  It took weeks before we could see out the back of the house again!

    Also, the snowplow could only get down half of our street/neighborhood, and that was two days after the storm.  So those houses who got plowed out went and picked up essential stuff at the supermarket for those of us who were still stranded.  The stranded homes (including ours!) didn't get plowed out for another three days.  

    Thanks for this diary.  Great memories.  I feel badly for anyone whose memories of that storm were tragic... mine were filled with fascination.

  •  I was in Indianapolis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InsultComicDog, homo neurotic

    It was just another lousy winter day at work.  Then the boss came out of his office and shouted, "Everybody go home NOW!"  We did.  Within hours it was announced that anyone driving anything but four wheel drive or snowmobile and for anything but food or medicine would be arrested.

    My area never lost power.  There's definitely something to be said for underground utilities.

    Three days later I was able to dig out of the house.

    I now live in small town Texas where a 1/2" snowfall brings people out to take pictures.

  •  I Was in High School (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InsultComicDog, homo neurotic

    in Simsbury, Connecticut.  I was working part time at a nursing home, a great job that paid a couple of bucks over minimum wage.  I remember that Governor Ella Grasso closed all of the roads.  It was a vicious storm to be sure.  

    We shoveled a ton of snow, and ended up stuck at the place for two nights.  We had a blast and got into a lot of fun mischief between shovel sessions.  

  •  Hialeah, FL (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, InsultComicDog

    I don't even remember reading about this.
    I hadn't become a news junkie yet.

    excellent essay to read while the front page on DK takes a break.

  •  I was just 7, a little north of Indy, rural. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We couldn't get out for a week, but we never lost power, and we had two full cords of wood for the wood stove and plenty of food, so it wasn't awful. My mother wouldn't let me out to play as much as I wanted, though, and I got awful cabin fever, stuck in there trying to amuse my three year old sister who even then I didn't get along with.  I had run out of books, and was tired of soup by the time we got the driveway shoveled out and found they'd actually run a plow down our county road.

    But Mom and Dad still plan to be snowed in at some point in the winter, and keep things so that if it happened at any one point, it might be annoying but not calamity.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:09:13 AM PST

  •  I remember- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InsultComicDog, homo neurotic

    I was 7 years old, in Providence, Rhode Island, I had gotten sick at school, threw up, yuck, and my mom had to come pick me up.  It must have been 11 am or so when we got home and it was just flurries at that point.  

    I was sick so I went to bed and when I woke up the next morning I couldn't believe what I saw.  My dad had to actually dig us out of our house, when he opened the front door, there was a drift almost to the top.

    I have vague memories of neighbors shoveling their way down the street to the local grocery store and then a day or so later the National Guard plowing the street.  

    My bumper sticker says "If Romney Wins I Will Die" Evil lady at gas station laughed at me saying"He's going to win where do I send the flowers?" She laughed at me/to her the uninsured are funny-ArtemisBSG 2012

    by ArtemisBSG on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:18:41 AM PST

  •  Ah, you're taking me back (3+ / 0-)

    I was 20 at the time. After several hours of shoveling snow, I trudged through the snow to my friend's house, about a half a mile away, maybe a bit further. We smoked weed and took Quaaludes over there, listened to Pink Floyd and played Risk.

    When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in excess body fat & carrying a misspelled sign.

    by InsultComicDog on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:28:47 AM PST

  •  I recall the winter of '77-78 quite vividly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InsultComicDog, homo neurotic

    After having lived all my life in Southern California, I had moved to NYC in '77, and after dealing with the summer of that year - record heat, Son of Sam killings, the Great Blackout in July - I thought that I had seen enough of extreme weather: THEN winter hit! I remember days of record cold - (three(?) days in a row below 3F? - and then the February blizzard. As I recall it, I was working in the financial industry at the time, and was surprised that the markets were closed that day. I called up a similarly-situated girlfriend and we went out to lunch: in my memory, the buildings in the City were swathed in icicles, the streets were virtually empty of traffic (and silent, except for the chains on the buses (those that were still running), but everyone (as is so typical in NY)  was making a good time out of it. It was a mess for a long while after that  - City snowfalls usually only have a day, maybe two, of picturesqueness before they turn grey (or black) , but the experience of my first blizzard was something to remember...

  •  I was in a Cleveland suburb for that storm. (4+ / 0-)

    Some friends and I were stuck in an apartment with no power, heat, or phone.  I remember drinking a lot.  My strongest memory, however, is venturing out after the storm.  It was hauntingly beautiful.  Snow drifts everywhere, and huge columns of ice hanging from trees and wires. And stillness and quiet.  My friends and I all got t-shirts that read "I Survived the Blizzard of 78".

    Just a couple of weeks ago I was staying with a friend in a hotel in Lebanon NH while her husband was having surgery nearby.  There was a snow storm predicted for the next day, and we contemplated trying to make it home or to stay for another night in the hotel.  Then we started remembering what it was like when we were younger - no 4 wheel drive cars (and rear wheel drive to boot!), no seat belts or air bags. Our cars were often unreliable , batteries seemed to die all the time, and the defrost systems and windshield wipers left a lot to be desired. We had fun remembering and laughing about how it used to be.  Then we drove home.

  •  I remember that one well (3+ / 0-)

    I was still in Chicago at the time. We didn't get it as bad as other places (just a foot or so) but I lived near the lake and that is the storm I think of when I think of blizzard conditions. I remember walking home through that from a friends and not being able to see more than an inch or so in front of my face. It was guess work to stay on course for home. It was all white. Nothing else. Wrapped up. head down. nothing but a slit for my eyes to look through. Crusted and covered with snow. That was something else. I was young enough (teenager) to enjoy the experience and frankly revel in it. In fact, I go out (briefly) in major storms today to recapture that moment of awe at the power of nature.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:36:28 AM PST

  •  I was 21 and had just purchased my first (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, homo neurotic

    new car, a '78 Honda Civic. The day after the storm, a buddy and I drove on I-70 going eastbound in the westbound lane all the way to I-75 (I lived in SW ohio at the time), a journey of 18 miles. We turned around and went back in the east bound lane going west. We never saw another moving vehicle, but countless that were stuck and abandoned. We too had just purchased a sack and were pretty mellow. That car was great! It went thru anything with that front wheel drive.

    If voting made any difference it would be illegal- Philip Berrigan

    by Mighty Ike on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:47:05 AM PST

  •  Northern Virginia, snowed in for a week (0+ / 0-)

    I was in high school at the time, bored out of my mind, but I remember being prepared with plenty to eat and drink. I think it's because we knew that a storm was coming up from the South, which seem to be the ones that hit the DC area the hardest. Prepared or not, we were shocked when it finally did hit--I haven't seen anything like it since.

  •  I barely missed both storms (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Work had sent me to Notre Dame University for two weeks of training just a few days after the first blizzard struck the Midwest. There was still plenty of snow on the ground AND it was freezing cold. One morning it was -12...coldest temperature I'd ever experienced, though the lack of wind made it more interesting than scary. The thing I remember most vividly from the trip (okay there are some other memories I won't recount here) was that there were fears that some places might run out of food and/or fuel because the snow was so deep that nothing could be delivered.

    The Northeast got his while I was away. If I recall correctly, New York wasn't hit that badly. My roommate's ex, living in Boston, was snowed into his apartment for an entire week!

  •  I was just outside of Columbus... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, NoMoreLies, homo neurotic

    Near West Jefferson where I attended school (actuall had a Galloway address).  I was about to turn eleven in the 5th grade.  We were snowed in for 5 days until a convoy of $ wheel drive trucks came and rescued several of us from my little neighborhood on a hill in the middle of nowhere.  We kids dug tunnels in the snow and when we finally got to town, the drifts were so high we rode bicycles around and off of Doc Hurt's office (I swear to God that was his name).

    I think it was the year before when they closed the school down for over a month because of inclement weather and the high cost of fuel to heat the schools.  We actually had school on the television and once a week, we had to meet at a teacher's house to turn in our assignments.

    My senior year of High school in 1985, I went to a vocational school for electronics way out in the middle of nowhere, close to Plain City.  Upon hearing reports of an upcoming storm, the 7 school that fed into the JVS at that time independently decided when to cancel their schools.  5 of the schools were sent home and most of the teachers left before they closed the roads and the two remaining schools and the few remaining staff were forced to spend the night.  The next morning when they finally got the raods clear enough to get a bus in there to get us out, the cars in the parking lot were just bumbs in the snow.  A lot of kids get snowed out of school but we are the only people I know who ever got snowed into school.

    13 years later, the year I moved to Kentucky, we had zero inches of snow in Columbus that winter.  It snowed north and south of Columbus but not in Columbus.  global warming deniers must have a hard time denying what their own eyes and memories are telling them.  It is more than merely numbers on a chart, memories of snow and frigid weather in central Ohio on a regular basis, cold weather enough to freeze the Olentangy River, Big Darby Creek and others, enough to play hockey on,  make it hard to deny something is happening.

    "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

    by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:58:50 AM PST

  •  Although I was living in Minneapolis in '78 (3+ / 0-)

    and went through the storm, it wasn't nearly so memorable as the Super Bowl Blizzard of  1975.  The storm began with rain on Friday afternoon and didn't turn to snow until sometime during the night. It snowed and blew badly all day Saturday and was still snowing on Sunday, the day of the game.  I was living in an aging fourplex  just off Lake Street in South Minneapolis, and there was so much snow that the space between my building and one one next door was totally filled in, which was a pain because I mostly used the door on that side of the apartment to enter and leave.  

    But what I remember most happened on Sunday.  I was at a neighbor's apartment upstairs where everyone was watching the game, drinking Old Milwaukee, and smoking weed.  Well, along about 2 pm, there was a knock on the door.  It was a girl from next door who said she needed help getting her car out.  Since I was the only one not watching the Super Bowl (I have never had any interest in football whatsoever, you see.), I told her I'd see what I could do.  When I got to her car, the problem was clear.  Remember, I mentioned the storm began with rain?  Well, the storm sewers were filled with leaves, so the gutters were full of water.  She had parallel parked with her left wheels right next to the curb -- in water...  So there she was with a car that was literally frozen into the gutter.  Between a shovel, some canned de-icer, and a mixture of sand and kitty-litter, which I always carried in my car for traction, the two of us managed to get the car out.  

    -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

    by GulfExpat on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:02:17 AM PST

  •  It was pretty amazing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, homo neurotic

    I remember snow drifts that completely covered the neighbors garage.  My dad had to go on the roof to shovel snow off to relieve the weight.  I also remember being out of school for a couple of weeks.  My dad walked to the store pulling a sled to get groceries because some of the smaller roads were impassible the first week.

    "When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along." --Carl Sandburg

    by Mote Dai on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:16:04 AM PST

  •  In Central Illinois my car was completely buried (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Involuntary Exile

    at the curb in front of our house.  Nobody on our street had off-street parking, so after the plows went thru, our street was a narrow lane between cars buried up to their antennas.  I had a little Gremlin at the time, and it was completely covered.  Several of the neighbors were elderly and didn't have family living close by, so we young ones got together and dug out the whole block.  After we uncovered the cars, we started on the sidewalk.  I was in my 20s, and I remember working with gardening gloves on because I couldn't hold a shovel in my mittens, and breathing thru a scarf wrapped around the lower half of my face.

    Fox News is to the truth as a flaming bag of dog shit is to a packed lunch. --MinistryOfTruth

    by snazzzybird on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:18:03 AM PST

  •  I was living in downtown Boston (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, homo neurotic, Parthenia

    and going to school out Huntington Ave. I was a phone volunteer at WBCN in their studios on top of the Prudential Building. Walking home from school I remember facing a wind that if I'd jumped into the air, I probably could have flown a few flaps.
    I got off the street to the radio station and was answering the phones when the power went out. All over Boston. The station was 50 stories up so we could look out all directions but there was nothing to see. no lights. solid swirling snow. At one point we heard a big plane pass really close to us, invisible. Power was out for 17 hours. A dozen of us crashed out on the carpets around the offices, no point in trying to go anywhere.
    7 AM, the morning DJ, Charles LaQuidara, AKA Chuckaluckducka, arrived, having climbed 50 stories WITH BREAKFAST! for everyone. (Needless to say, he earned undying love and respect from all of us!)
    From the Top pf the Pru, we could see right down into Fenway Park, it was filled to the brim with drifted snow! Nothing was moving. In fact, nothing was moving for MILES!
    We got power back, got on the air and opened the phonelines and for the next 5 days we became the information hub of Boston. We called it playing Action Central. The State was officially shut down for three days, that is, all nonessential businesses were closed. people were not allowed to drive without some seriously compelling excuse. Food stores were not able to restock, milk was in short supply, et cetera. At the station we were able to direct people to find open stores, we had people calling up to offer service with their snow mobiles getting food and pharma to shut-ins, et cetera. We were so connected with our huge call-in base and listener base that the Mayor's office referred people to us for information.
    I went home for a few hours on day 3, a half hour walk, there were no cars moving, all the streets were packed down rather than plowed and the preferred mode of rapid transit was cross country skis! On Newbury Street! Up Comm Ave!
    Everyone was out of work and out in the crisp bright cold, with no cars, the city was much quieter and the air was much cleaner. There was a spirit of cooperation between strangers in that week that I still marvel at.
    When our tribe is threatened we instinctively pull together. At the most base level we understand that we live together or we die lonely. When something that big hits us all, we drop a lot of our antipathy for each other and form up against the common threat.
    This is what Krugman was alluding to when he joked about needing an alien invasion.
    We need something outside our tribe to remind us that we ARE a tribe.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:23:36 AM PST

  •  I was in Boston for the '78 blizzard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    homo neurotic, Keith930

    A friend and I embarked from near Kenmore Square about 830 am the morning the blizzard started, equipped with a hip flask of Jack and some weed. Snow was already ankle deep at that time.

    We walked downtown, then across the Longfellow Bridge into Cambridge, through the MIT campus (where snow was chest deep and we had difficulty moving), across the Mass Ave bridge and home. Total of about 5 miles.

    Got home by 6 to find that power was out and people were cooking hot dogs in the fireplace. Of course, class was cancelled for the week and the state was basically shut down.

    We decided to go skiing - although roads were impassable the highways were all clear and our house backed onto Storrow Drive, which had been plowed. It took only an hour or so to dig ourselves out. We made it all the way to the old Charlestown Bridge on I-93 (and a clear shot to New Hampshire and Mt. Sunapee) before we were turned back.

    "Some people pay for what others pay to avoid." -- Howard Devoto /// "Patience is a virtue, but I don't have the time." -- David Byrne

    by droopyd on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:33:33 AM PST

  •  I was in France then, so (0+ / 0-)

    while I was not caught in this blizzard, I can tell you that the winter of 1978 was one of the very coldest on record where I was (NE in Metz, near the German border). I'd have to dig out my (sigh, yes, mormon) missionary journal to check to see if the dates coincide, but during that January my companion and I went on foot to the "hypermarché" (giant supermarket) on the outskirts of town to shop.

    On our way back, plowing through the drifted snow, I started to freeze. I even sat down in the snow and my companion had to nag and cajole me to get me moving again. We got back to our apartment and then came the excruciating process of literally thawing out. The pain of my fingers and toes coming back to life (fortunately not being frostbit) made me scream. My companion had been an ER nurse before signing up for missionary service, and there really wasn't much she could do except encourage me to keep my extremities in the tepid water despite the pain.

    Not fun.

    My U.S. blizzard story was in the early 1990s (probably 1993, though I'd have to look it up) — Mr Mo and I were living in Pittsburgh and we'd gone to Wash DC for the weekend to participate in a symposium, leaving our 3 kids at home (with a nice young couple babysitting them). The blizzard blew in on Saturday and closed all the interstates. We were lucky that we had a place to stay and that our car had 4-wheel drive. Another fellow from da Burgh had driven his own car down to DC and he had to leave it in the parking lot and ended up throwing himself on the hospitality of our hosts.

    We got home two days later than anticipated. Fortunately, our babysitters were able to accommodate our situation. (Only glitch was that our youngest managed to lock herself in the bathroom and the sitters had to call the fire dept. to get her out… but that's a tale for another time.)

    We always, always, always try to keep some food and water and TP and other necessaries (including a little cash) on hand here in France and in our rental apartment in Berlin. And in our car, too (which also has a thermal blanket and such). One never knows.

    Thanks for this!

  •  That was the day I was born... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, homo neurotic, Keith930, YankInUK Iowa. My parents always tell the story of how the power went out in the hospital while my mother was in labor. My friends always told me they must have been exaggerating, it couldn't have been that bad!

    I've got a fun link to forward to them from now on!

  •  we had one of those 25 foot snow drifts across (3+ / 0-)

    the road in front of the farmhouse my parents rented.  The drift was totally perpendicular to the road.  the next day my dad and i watched from a window in the attic while a snowplow spent a half hour trying to blast his way through.  The plow would back up a hundred feet, floor it, & BAM! hit the drift.  Snow would go flying in a huge shower to be carried off by the wind and the plow would be all of a foot further.  The plow guy would back up, go forward to clear whatever snow was on the road, then back up and get another running start.  Little 10 year old me thought being a snow plow driver was the. Best. Job. EVAH!!!!

    We also had a couple drifts that went right up to the eaves of a couple buildings on the property.  If you were a kid who didn't listen to his parents as much as maybe he should have, you might get a sled, your friends, their sleds, go up on the roof of those buildings and sled down.

    The best was the barn.  Its peak was around 35 feet and the eves were around 15.  However, the drift created a wind tunnel between the back edge of the drift and the side of the barn so there was a 2-3 foot gap between the top of the drift and the eave.  I took my dad's stepladder and laid it across the narrowest part to make a bridge.  We had ALOT of fun though we were all scared of slipping and tumbling down the wrong side.  The ground on THAT side was almost blown barren of snow and was mud turned to ice. (not that it stopped us from trying to push each other down the wrong side)(that's what boys do; show our love by putting our compatriots at risk for serious injury).

    drone strikes in Pakistan: Sandy Hook Elementary x10.

    by bnasley on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:38:29 AM PST

    •  i think one of the reasons we moved to an apt. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile

      a few years later and one thing i sure as heck don't miss is the experience of shoveling out the drive then having the snow plow come by and throw a 3x3' foot mound of snow across your egress.

      my mom usually left for work before i left for school so i always had to help shovel snow either before bed or just after waking.

      drone strikes in Pakistan: Sandy Hook Elementary x10.

      by bnasley on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:46:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Columbus in 1978 (4+ / 0-)

    We lived on E 9th Avenue, a few blocks off High Street. I was a Kelly Girl at the time, had just finished one job, and called in to get another the afternoon before the storm.

    It was pouring down rain that evening, and there WAS thunder and lightning. In fact, it was still raining when I went to bed.

    I got up around 6 am, and was fixing breakfast when my roommate came in the kitchen door, announcing "There are NO COTA buses running -- a policeman in a cruiser saw me at the bus stop and told me to come back home, everything is closed. The snow out there is unreal, and there are no cars on the roads!"

    Well, no bus, no getting to work for me, so I picked up the phone and dialed Kelly Girl, and the phone rang and rang. No one answered the phone that day.

    When they were able to get the snowplows out, there was no place to put the snow -- On Fourth Street and Summit Street, main one-way arteries from OSU to downtown, they piled the snow in the CENTER lane, with cut outs at each intersection. Made driving very exciting for quite some time, as the snow was piled higher than the tops of the vehicles using the road...

    That was one brutal storm.

  •  I Had a Paper Route in 78 (4+ / 0-)

    The two worst winters I can remember were the two winters, 77 and 78, I had a paper route.  On the day of the blizzard they canceled delivery and the day after, but I was out trudging through those drifts for months.  In 77 we did not get the snow but the temperatures were crippling.  I remember actually having ice form on my cheeks that year.  In 78 what made the blizzard especially bad was all the snow we got afterwards.  There were drifts 5 and 6 feet deep.  Sometimes the wind would kick up and move all the snow around and that was enough to close the roads and shut down the schools.

    My friend and I rolled up a huge snowball and put it on the north side of his house.  We were throwing snowballs at each other until June.

    I'm just here for the Mojo!

    by Gator on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:50:27 AM PST

  •  My mother took a picture of me (0+ / 0-)

    after I shoveled the sidewalk, after the blizzard.  I recall the snow coming up to my waist waist (about 3 feet).  That's pretty rare for Baltimore.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:56:32 AM PST

  •  yup. i remember it too. (0+ / 0-)

    grew up in rural central maine, where a phalanx of plows and sand trucks were typically at the ready to dispatch with the white stuff as quickly as possible.

    iirc, it was the only time during my childhood when schools were closed two days in a row.

    tangentially, as a college senior in the boston area in 1988, i also remember the boston globe's 10 year anniversary coverage, which included an interview with a woman and her twin then 10 year old sons, who were born in the midst of the blizzard chaos.

    "i hear you're mad about brubeck ... i like your eyes. i like him too." -donald fagen

    by homo neurotic on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:59:55 AM PST

  •  Different storm than I expected (0+ / 0-)

    I thought it would be the 2' fresh snow we woke up with Christmas day 1978 in upstate NY (ulster Co.) My last Christmas as a kid in NY; moved to FL with parents in '79. What great memories; my best friend had moved in with my family, my terrific older sister had moved back home for that winter. That was the defining Christmas of my life.

  •  I had just turned 13 (0+ / 0-)

    when it hit MA.

    I remember it starting during my afternoon paper route, which took me about an hour. During that hour, it went from gentle light flakes to "Shit, I can't see 2 feet in front of me!"

    We built a toboggan run off our bulkhead :).

    I walked two miles to dig out my Gram. This was on a main road (for those of you who know the North Shore, 114 into 35). I've never seen that road so deserted, before or since.

    I lived in Peabody, but on the Salem line. They opened the roads in Peabody about a day-and-a-half before Salem, so there were National Guardsmen at the intersection near my house for that time, blocking Salem off. We brought them coffee :).

    A whole WEEK with no school. We loved that. Hey, when you're 13, it's just one big adventure, right? :)

    "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

    by ChurchofBruce on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 10:08:32 AM PST

  •  Working at my first job after college... (0+ / 0-)

    field engineer, stationed in Flint Michigan, made a road trip to Parma Ohio to work on one of our security systems; checked out of the motel in the morning, went to the plant to work, couldn't reach anyone back at the home base in Indiana; finally got an answer, found about the storm heading my way, rushed back to the motel and was able to get my room back.  By the morning, lobby was full of people that couldn't get a room; brushed the snow off the car but it wouldn't start; a local with a truck and jumper cables gave me a jump for $20 - the whole underhood area was packed with snow.  Think it took a couple of days before all roads were clear and I could get back to Flint.

    "Detective, if ignorance was a drug, you'd be high all the time." Sam Tyler, 'Life on Mars'

    by Kokomo for Obama on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 10:12:37 AM PST

  •  Blizzard of 1978 in Dayton, OH (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, Ohiodem1, YankInUK

    A few days before the blizzard we had 24 inches of snow depth, resulting from almost continuous snow the prior week. Wed January 25, we dropped our baby son off at the grandparents after work, went to Krogers for weekly grocery run, went over to a friend's house to help remove ice/snow straining his patio cover, watched Bob Breck present the weather report on Channel 2, and went to bed. It was drizzling rain and above freezing when we helped with the patio and went to bed. The weather report said a major snowstorm was coming, but what could be worse than the previous two weeks? We found out quickly. The temperature dropped from 33 to 0 in a few hours, 12 inches of snow fell and winds up to 70 MPH roared all night. The next morning, I opened the side door and the gap between the storm and inner doors was filled with snow. At times, we could barely see the cars in the driveway. We didn't go outside that day. After the wind died down the next day, I shoveled the driveway and went to the local grocery with our next-door-neighbor, hauling our sleds along for the walk back. There were four-foot drifts through the breezeway and behind our cars in the driveway. Our aluminum storage shed out back had eerily beautiful snow drift/sculptures inside. On our first day back to work on Monday, we found a small drift of snow in the conference room in an old buidling the county used for offices. The wind had driven snow through the cracks around the edges of the fire escape door. The room was cold enough for the drift to last because the county reduced heat to our building in order to keep the jail inmates warmer. 1977-1978 was the time of natural gas shortages in our area. That storm had the lowest barometric pressure ever recorded in Ohio - 28.28 in/Hg in Cleveland. I think it also might have had the lowest pressure ever in a non-tropical storm in the continental US.

    There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

    by OHeyeO on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 10:12:56 AM PST

  •  I was a junior in HS, what I remember most is (0+ / 0-)

    2 things.
    First the amazing piles of snow left by the storm.

    The second and more important being that this was the first time I ever came in contact with poverty.

    I had a friend in my neighborhood and I walked over to his house in the frigid cold. When I got there his Dad, his brothers, and himself were all huddled in the kitchen. I can't remember where his Mom was, she was no longer with the family, dead or gone. They had the oven open and turned on. They were heating their house with the oven because their electricity had been turned off and luckily for them they had a gas range. The electricity was off because their Dad was behind on the electric bill. I'll never, ever, forget that, and it's a shame that it happens in the land of plenty. And I am sure this very scene continues to play out every year in the U.S. But as the Onceler told us, "Business is Business, and business must grow" regardless of shivering children huddled around an open oven.
    Meanwhile the 1% will spend over 100,000 dollars on a winter cruise for two.(that is a fact)

    The nine most terrifying words in the english language . . . "I'm George Bush, we're here to liberate your country"

    by TiredOfGOPLies on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 10:22:36 AM PST

  •  Wow, at first I thought "yes, I remember that", (0+ / 0-)

    but upon further thought I am remembering the Chicago Blizzard of 79(sophmore in high school).  We had more than one snow day, very rare for our school district, and we were jumping off the roof of a friend's house into the largest 'lawn drift' I had ever experienced.

    Funny I cant seem to remember 78, sigh, I miss my brain.

  •  I lived in Clintonville (north Columbus suburb) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, YankInUK

    one block East of High Street.  Republican James A. Rhodes was governor and in advance of the storm, he called it "a killer storm, looking for victims" with an admonishment to stay in your homes.  Rhodes was never at a loss for words.

    It was raining before the storm hit, and my car was parked in a gravel drive behind my house.  The storm hit with a roar, blew a sealed French Door in my living room open (that door was never used, and was more or less caulked shut), and I had to push it closed and put something in front of it to keep it closed.  Along with the roar of the wind, the temperature instantly dropped by about 25 or 30 degrees, and blinding, sideways snow hit.

    My street became impassible, the temperature dropped and it stayed cold for several weeks, and it snowed and snowed for several weeks.  At the end of that, there was only a very narrow passageway between the snow piles that allowed cars to get through.

    My car tires were frozen into a puddle from the rain, and it took a lot of work, let me repeat, a lot of work to get it out.

    It was a hell of a storm.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 10:40:08 AM PST

  •  Republished to Central Ohio Kossacks (0+ / 0-)

    because some of the members are likely to have lived through it, although I am aware that some of them may not have been born yet.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 10:43:10 AM PST

  •  Yeah, that's how I remember winter... (0+ / 0-)

    I was seven years old at the time in Detroit. Lot of snow days for the winters of '77 and '78 :-) The bar for winter fun was set high, plus I am at bit taller now and have to shovel the stuff...

    "Compromise" is not the mid-point between rationality and lunacy -- litigatormom

    by lurkerX on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 11:07:16 AM PST

  •  Actually New England got this storm too... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was working in Boston at the time and got stranded for two days as all public transportation stopped. Fortunately, I was working at the Sheraton Boston and so was able to get a room. Boylston Street was a mall - no vehicular traffic, just folks walking through the snow to whatever restaurants and taverns that stayed open.

    As a matter of fact, it was this storm that made the one in February that much worse. There was still so much of the white stuff on the ground that there was nowhere to put the new snow that started falling. I called into work sick with a sore throat before the storm started thinking I didn't want to get stuck again for a couple of days away from home and sick. Except there was no contact with the hotel for THIRTEEN DAYS!

    And for the time in between, everything was at a standstill - no driving unless it was an emergency, and stores quickly ran out of food and milk (no bottled water back in those days).

    I guess weather predicting as gotten a whole lot better. But I too remember the weathermen being caught off guard by both storms.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 11:11:29 AM PST

    •  it's too bad weatherdude didn't drop in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal

      for this diary...he could probably have given a good overview of how the science of weather reporting has changed over the ensuing years.  I think they were still using line charts in 1978, and who knows what kind of real time updates they got as the storm developed... telex?  AP wires?   I really don't know.

      Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 11:17:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Two words for those of us in Massachusetts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MA Liberal

        Don. Kent. The last of the old-school weathermen.

        Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

        by cassandracarolina on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:32:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I thought the same thing... (0+ / 0-)

        With all the computer models and up-to-the-second graphs and charts, we get instant weather nowadays. Weatherdude could do a diary on the "old timey" days.  Heck, in the really old days people just looked at the clouds, or how birds, animals and insects behaved. We've come a long way. Though it's still fun predicting with the ancient methods..."Mackerel skies and mares tails, sailors furl their sails." Holds as true today as it did then.


        Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

        by MA Liberal on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:16:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This blizzard in '78 was a horrendous ice storm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in RI.  Our 4 foot snow burial took place over a two day period less than two weeks later.  The ice storm had us out of school for a week, the subsequent blizzard for two more.  Talk about one two punch!

    Good times though.

  •  Radio were announcing ski conditions on... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Beacon Hill in Boston. The city was shut down for about a week. No cars, only taxis...

  •  I was living in an apartment in Massachusetts (0+ / 0-)

    and our witless landlord's snowplow - which had been sitting, not doubt without a functional engine all the while - was no use, so a bunch of us 20-something young couples decided to dig out our cars in the off-street parking lot by hand. The resulting piles were taller by far than I was.

    A bunch of strapping young college guys were notably absent from this effort, but sauntered out once the work was done, returning a while later with a case of beer.

    We were psyched that they'd think of us and give us some beer, but noooo... they took it back to their apartment. Dog-tired as we were, we summoned the energy to take much of the piled-up snow and pack it around their vehicle and let the dropping temperatures work their magic.

    Fortunately, our hunger was filled by some marvelous Indian food prepared by one of our residents, combined with other pot-luck contributions from the rest of us.

    With roads shut down, I traveled to visit my folks 4 miles away via cross-country skis. The whole thing was surreal!

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:31:58 PM PST

  •  I was a senior in college in '78 (0+ / 0-)

    In Lowell, MA.  My giant old 70's car was buried completely in my apartment building's parking lot.  I remember taking the train in to Boston for a class, and there were armed soldiers on the streets (martial law had been declared).  It felt surreal to see the normally bustling Boston streets so empty.  It was quite a storm!  

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