• Boston

The Blizzard of ’78 – 40 Years Later

To those who lived through it, the Blizzard of ’78 has been ingrained in their memories.

The storm began on February 6, 1978, when a strong nor’easter stalled right over New England, with both Boston and Providence received more than 27 inches of snow and accumulations of multiple inches per hour.

Compounding the issue, many schools, commercial buildings, and residents didn’t heed forecasters’ warnings about the storm until it was too late.

Blizzard of 78 Snow Clogged Highways

Snow-covered cars on Route 128 in Needham in 1978

The snow clogged roadways and forced many on the highway to abandon their vehicles, walking or even skiing home until they could retrieve their cars later.

The region took days to shovel out from the accumulations, creating a time which those who lived through it will never forget.

Here are a few memories from our team.

Duncan Gratton

Cushman & Wakefield Duncan GrattonI was in college at BU at the time and the night of the Blizzard I was at the Beanpot with a bunch of friends watching BU beat BC 12-5.

At the end of the 2nd period they announced that Boston was in the midst of the “worst storm in history” and they said the T was about to shut down. They suggested that everyone leave the Garden. Then they announced that the 3rd period would still be played. So as true fans and knucklehead college students, we decided to stay and watch the end of the game.

When we came out, the blizzard was in full force. The T was not running so the police led us to Haymarket and we walked underground to Government Center where the Green line was running. We took that back to Kenmore Square. Quite a night.

The rest of the week was fantastic. No school. No cars. The city was beautiful. We jumped off of the Mass Avenue bridge into the snowbanks on the Charles River. By Thursday or Friday our dormitory was running out of food.

Somehow we survived.

Mary Doyle

I was a junior in High School during the blizzard of ’78.  I remember walking 4 miles with a toboggan to the local grocery store to get milk, bread etc., for my family and neighbors.  I connected with one of my friends at Mile 2 and we walked together on the empty streets and part of Route 44 in Raynham to get to the store.

The only vehicle we saw was a news truck, so of course they stopped to take our pictures. Lots of adults were stuck at work, or worse, on the highways while they were trying to get home. One of my neighbors left his car on Route 24 and walked home to Raynham.

I remember owning an “I survived the Blizzard of 78 t shirt” and wearing it for a promotional event for my HoJo’s waitressing job. So glad I wasn’t stuck there!!! Most stressful job ever.

Barry Hynes

Cushman & Wakefield Barry Hynes

I will never forget the Blizzard of ‘78. I was a Junior in boarding school at Milton Academy.

I was at the Boston Garden with my hockey coach and 2 teammates attending The Beanpot Hockey tournament. My brother John was playing for Harvard that night against Northeastern.

We kept hearing the public announcer updating the arena on the status of the storm. Halfway through the game, he declared the Governor had issued a state of emergency and they were going to close The Garden.

We left the arena for my coach’s car and started back to Milton, in a blinding snowstorm! What normally is a 20 minute drive took over 4 hours but we made it back to campus. The station wagon vehicle was literally sliding all over the road but coach stayed the course!

School was closed for 10 days and I made over $700 shoveling cars, driveways and walkways! I will always remember where I was during The Blizzard of ‘78!!

Deanne Pace

Cushman & Wakefield Deanne PaceI have a lot of memories of the blizzard. My Dad was a police officer in town and I remember the cruiser coming to get him and he didn’t return for 4 days!

I remember how enormous the snow banks were, all the neighborhood kids worked together and made one long tunnel that spanned several houses. It was so bright at night because everything was blanketed with the snow.

My Mom also sent us out every day to check on all of the elderly people in the neighborhood.  We had to stay in packs of 4 because none of their houses were shoveled and inevitably someone would get stuck as we tried to make our way to each of their houses. We also had to talk to them through their windows, most often the second floor ones because the doors were all blocked in by the snow.

However, all of our complaints ceased pretty quickly when we realized so many didn’t have enough food.

That storm was the catalyst for people rushing to stock up when any storm is predicted.

Also, the sledding was fantastic!

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