The Blizzard of ’78. Literally a ‘perfect storm’, everything was set for Ohio to get pummeled.
We lived in town then. Though my sister was dating her future first husband, who lived out in the country. I remember because a friend of my parents visited just before it hit. They had a young daughter who was terminally ill, who died later that year. I still think of that.
Anyway, the storm hit. And it hit so hard even Burl Ives couldn’t do it justice. Most of the next day was a whiteout. The snow itself – not drifts, just the snow – was over my head. Drifts covered cars and, sometimes, houses. Entire districts out in the country were cut off for weeks. When we were able to shovel the sidewalks, my Dad and my sister’s boyfriend took over, since I couldn’t reach. The piles of snow ended up being higher than either of them. Good for snow forts.
It wasn’t just snow. It was bitter cold. It went from a mild 30 degrees to single digits in just hours. Wind speeds were clocked upwards of 70 mph. According to the meteorologists, we recorded some of the lowest pressure readings in the history of the US. The storm lasted almost three days.
We ended up missing almost two full weeks of school. On the following Monday, the schools closed for the whole week up front. There was great rejoicing in Ohio then. But not for all. Seventy people died in that storm. More than half in Ohio.
But that’s the way it was, 39 years ago today.