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Blizzard of '78: During the storm_1

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I came across a Boston NWS retrospective of "The Benchmark of Winter Storms".

Monday, February 6, 1978, I went off to work as usual at 7:30 AM. A big snowstorm was forecast for Monday and Tuesday, and it was already snowing, but this was Boston, and we were used to snow. We didn't yet know what a "bomb cyclone" was, or how severe the storm would actually be.

By 10 AM, it was clear that the rate of snow and blowing was serious, and we closed and sent everyone home. When I got home, there was 6" of snow in my parking place on our one-lane street (in theory, you could only park on one side during snow emergencies, but there was no place to put the cars, so we ignored that). I parked my car in the street, pulled a shovel out of the trunk, and commenced shoveling my spot. During this operation, one other car came through, stopped, and waited patiently for me to finish and park my car so he could proceed.

By 11:30 AM, the plows stopped coming through.

That evening, one of my housemates shoveled from our front porch down to the sidewalk and out into the middle of the street. Standing there, with snow more than knee-deep, all you could see in either direction was a valley of snow; the parked cars on either side were completely buried.

Out on the highways, it looked like the scene above. By midday, almost every road out of Boston was clogged and stopped, including Interstate 95 and the Route 128 beltway that wrapped around Boston. People had to abandon their cars and, amidst blizzard conditions and winds gusting to hurricane force, hike to nearby houses for food and warmth.
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Great piece, Don!


Interesting. I just accessed a NY Times front page from Feb 1 1977, and there was an article on a blizzard: "Snow lays siege to Watertown; 71 inches in six days closes roads".

"Six feet of snow covers the ground, with drifts rising to 25 feet. All roads were closed, and as many as 2,000 cars are believed snowbound."

This sort of thing happens in various places. The difference is that it's one thing when it happens to a small city of 28,000 people; happening in Greater Boston, with a population of ~4 million, is an entirely different matter!


@lorimc, I grew up in St. Lawrence County, and now live there again. In many respects, this was a classic northeaster, which brings snow all across New England and northern New York.

However, the big snow I remember was '66, when I was in Ithaca. We got 14" of snow one January weekend, then 32" the next weekend. At the time, I think that Oswego was dealing with 108" of standing snow (9') and 20' drifts. People were being supplied by snowmobile via second-story windows!

I remember the blizzard, too, in RI

Northern NY was hit the same way. NYS Rt. 81 and other roads were closed, school was closed for several days. My husband remembers delivering things to people in need by snowmobile in Jefferson County, NY.

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