The Blizzard of ‘78 struck 45 years ago

Looking back at the Blizzard of '78, 45 years later
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 5:19 PM EST
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(WFSB) – It’s been a mild winter, but 45 years ago we were in a fierce winter storm known as the Blizzard of ‘78.

It’s sunny and beautiful out, but 45 years ago today and Tuesday there was almost 17 inches of snow in Hartford.

Snow piled up at a rapid pace.

President Carter declared it a federal disaster area and Connecticut Governor Ella T. Grasso shut down the state for three whole days.

Providence had their greatest storm on record, receiving 28.6 inches of snow. Boston got 27.1, which is the second highest on record for them now behind 2003.

It brought blizzard conditions, hurricane force wind gusts at times, and several bouts of major coastal flooding to the area.

According to the National Weather Service, computer model guidance at the time was pretty accurate to predict this storm.

The system rapidly intensified dropping more than 24 mb in 24 hours.

Channel 3′s former chief meteorologist Bruce DePrest was at college in Lowell, Massachusetts at the time.

“It was hard to get out of the storm after it happened because there was so much snow. I think my college was closed for over a week and I had to get a pass to be on the road because I was working for weather services which was in Bedford, and I remember traveling down the highway and the snowbanks looked like mountains. I’ve never seen them so high before,” DePrest said.

“What I remember is that when the storm was over, all the cars in the parking lot you couldn’t even see them. The space between the cars was filled with snow and there was a little bump in the snow it was almost like a mogul it was an incredible storm and the schools were shut down for days,” DePrest added.

Eyewitness News asked viewers what they remembered from the storm.

“I remember it very well. My bus ride home usually took 30 min but that day it was 2 1/2 hours just from Hartford to East Hartford,” said Linda.

“I remember that storm well. Being a snow lover all of our neighborhood in Manchester played in the snow after we dug ourselves out. We had no power but we all took care of each other making sure we all stayed warm and had food to eat,” said Laura Harney.

“I remember it well - couldn’t open my door so I let my dog out the window! 🤣,” said Melinda Perkins.

It was an unforgettable winter that many still think back to especially on winter days like today.

45th anniversary of the Blizzard of '78