Share your memories of the Blizzard of '78

This is the 35th anniversary of Ohio's worst blizzard.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jan 27, 2013

 

The Great Blizzard of 1978 was one of the worst in Ohio history, with 51 people losing their lives as a result of the storm.

That historic winter storm that struck the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes from Wednesday, Jan. 25 through Friday, Jan. 27, 1978.

As the storm headed for Ohio, this resulted in a "storm of unprecedented magnitude", according to the National Weather Service, which categorized it as a rare severe blizzard, the most severe grade of winter storm. Winds gusting up to 100 miles per hour caused drifts that nearly buried some homes. Snow drifts of 10 to 20 feet made travel virtually impossible. Wind chill values reached minus-60 degrees F across much of Ohio.

More than 50,000 members of the Ohio National Guard were called in to make numerous rescues. Police asked citizens who had four-wheel drive vehicles and snowmobiles to transport doctors to the hospital. From Jan. 26 to 27, the entire Ohio Turnpike was shut down for the first time ever. The total effect on transportation in Ohio was described by Major General James C. Clem of the Ohio National Guard as comparable to a nuclear attack.

The 28.28 inches barometric pressure measurement recorded in Cleveland was the lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the mainland United States until the Upper Midwest Storm of Oct. 26, 2010, when 28.20 inches were measured in Bigfork, Minn..

Were you alive and in Ohio during the Blizzard of '78? If so, please share your memories in the comment section below.

 

 

Comments

wildcatlady1

We lived in Willard and my dad worked for the city, The only way they could talk with each other was with a CB and people in the area that had snowmobiles went and picked up the guys to take them in to work and they wen around to the elderly and checked on them, they took a list of food or prescriptions that they needed and the local grocery store owner filled the orders. My sister and I would climb up the snow drift and slide down the roof of the house. For a kid we were in heaven. Now that I am older I see the problems of having such a storm.

Good 2 B Me

It was cold and Snowy.

LookingDown

Thank you mom and dad! I'm a blizzard baby of 78!

Contango

Lived near Youngstown at the time. After work, I took I-80 in order to get home figuring that it would be plowed - it wasn't.

I drove in the semis' tire tracks as best I could. Eerily, I could hear and feel the snow brushing up against the floor. I kept moving sometimes at less than 20 MPH, figuring that if I stopped or got stuck I was DEAD.

My usual twenty min. drive took an hour. That morning, I had taken some extra warm clothes and some snacks.

Unforgettable.

tadpole

I spent over 100 hours on a bulldozer clearing township roads that week.

Now The Rest of...

Oldest child born 9 months later, home bound for 3 days. A neighbor who then worked at Good Samaritan Hospital in Sandusky told us that they had one of the highest birth rates in late October 1978.

LookingDown

ditto on that ....well kinda....... I'm a blizzard baby!

propman

I opened the back door to the house and the snow was not plowing within two feet of the house but stuck my arm out and the hand seemed to disappear in a moving wall of snow.
We were lucky in that the power was out for only about 9 hours.

capcap

I was 17yrs and both doors at our house was snowed shut. We had 2 dogs and had to put news papers down on kitchen floor so they could go...my dad and two other neighbors finally walk uptown to get food after 3 days of that. I never want to ever see that again.

luvblues2

I was in the USAF at the time stationed in Denver CO. We had one inch of snow there. Came back home in time to see mountains of snow and my son was born on Valentine's Day. I remember trying to call home so as to be picked up at the airport, but phone lines were down for three days.

deepinthought

I was only 11 years old. We lived out in the country. My father spent most of every day on a bulldozer clearing the roads. My mom made bread and we had a freezer full of beef. Our neighbors who owned a dairy farm on the next road were calling everyone nearby to come get milk because they were having to dump it. AS a kid, I loved it. Definately wouldn't want to do that again now though.

cjbell019

I had just hooked up with John Stamos for a weekend of bliss. The storm actually gave me ten days of heaven with him instead of the scheduled three. From that day forward, the sight of snow reminds me of him. Fond memories.

TheGravyWhisperer

...ten days sucking yogurt off his lips? ...bliss times WOW!

David Deerest.

I had just hooked up with cjbell019 for a weekend of bliss. The storm actually gave me ten days of heaven with her instead of the scheduled three. From that day forward, the sight of snow reminds me of her. Fond memories.

cjbell019

We sure did melt that snow that weekend.

David Deerest.

Yes, love. I remember calling you Steamy Nicks and you called me Steamy Ray Vaughn. Good times.

Cliff Cannon

@ cjbell019 & David Deerest : You 2 are hilarious ! Thanks

Contango

@ NR Staff:

As I recall, didn't Huron Co. have a couple causualties due to the storm?

Gonna publish some photos?

BIGD

I remember it well. I was 11 years old and my brother and i dug tunnels and caves in the snowdrifts. We lived in the country and was stranded for a week i think. The snow drifts were nearly as deep as the tele
phone poles were high !!!

jamie9700

I'm always puzzled why no one ever remembers the blizzard of '77 which hit northern OH exactly one year before. It was nearly as bad of the 'Bof78.'

ladydye_5

From the stories and pictures that I have seen, it makes me wonder when they now put up Blizzard warnings...or call a storm a blizzard...nothing really seems to compare. When I was little seemed like there was the "blizzard of 78" and maybe a bad storm here or there after. Now they put up blizzard warnings when there is 2 inches of snow and some wind. Not sure how they determine what is and what isnt a blizzard, but by todays standards it doesn't even compare.

luvblues2

It doesn't have anything to do with the amount in inches of snowfall, ladydye. It has to do with wind and visibility factors.

ladydye_5

I realize that..but compared to what the Blizzard of 78 looked like/was...and what they "call" a blizzard now it doesn't even come close.

jack langhals

I won't bore you with the worst time of our families life.I will say one thing about it,if it weren't for Mark Fogg,I wouldn't be writing this comment.He and his dedication to WLEC and the area saved our lives and probably many others.We were trapped for three days.No heat,water,lights and very little food.The snow was up to the gables.

justmytime

I also remember the Blizzard of 1977 since it was my wedding day. My brother was a farmer and used his tractor to plow my family into Norwalk so that I could still get married on January 28th. Our witnesses could not make it to Norwalk, so we had proxies and only one guest actually made it to the wedding. Our photographer could not get there so we have no photos of our actual wedding but we were married in the chapel at St Pauls. My mother in law had a roast in the crock pot and my family stayed with them for the night. We were lucky enough to have everything free the following weekend, so we got married all over again on February 4th. So I got my big wedding after all! We couldn't go on our honeymoon, so we thought we would go away on our first anniversary. No such luck since the Blizzard of 1978 was slightly worse!!! Oh well just wanted to wish my husband Happy 36th wedding anniversary!! Thanks for the memories!!

Fromthe419

I was 10 years old at the time, the wind was so severe it blew our back door open and before my dad could push it to close it we had a huge snow drift in our house.

badattitude72

I was 6 in 1978 we lived in huron on Rt 13 in a mobile home the wind was blowing the snow through the walls and i remember my mom shoveling the living room . My dad was stuck at work in sandusky . I remember some one coming for us to take us to doc mancuso's house the could only get so close so we had to walk and it seemed like we walked forever . As bundled up as my mom had me the wind took my gloves and hat right off of me my boots came off in the snow drifts but mom had a ton of socks and put pajamas with feet in them on by the time we got to where we were being taken to my hands were severely frostbitten I remember kicking and screaming i wanted my mom to go first because my dad worked nights and he would always say your the man of the house take care of mommy . she stayed behind as the snowmobile took off with me what seemed like forever once they dropped me off my mom came through the door and all i wanted was my mom as doc had my hands in bowls of ice thawing them out . I think to this day she still feels terrible about my hands but i have to give my mom every bit of respect,gratitude and love with my dad stuck at work and my baby sister and me to take care of she keep it together and made sure we all survived .

starryeyes83

To this day, I've never ever heard wind howl like that. Anything else in comparison to that is a mere popcorn fart, I was in junior high at the time.

hit the road jack

What a party! man, I can still remember the good times we had out running around and partying the week away,only bummer was you couldn't get into bank to get cash if you didn't have any at home.

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