Blizzard Slams New England 42 Years Ago Today


A man in Boston attempts to dig out his car amongst the aftermath of the 1978 blizzard. Photo courtesy of CTPost.

Ethan Edmondson, Staff Writer

        Monday, February 6 of 1978 started as a normal day, but soon turned into a chaotic, windy blizzard that produced anywhere from two to four feet of snow all across New England. Connecticut and Massachusetts were among the worst states hit. Meteorologists had been announcing the storm for days, and it definitely did not disappoint. The storm trapped thousands of families in their homes, and many schools were closed for weeks.

        Many people were left stranded in their houses and workplaces, and it made even the simplest tasks much harder. Photography teacher Meghan Hudson was a kindergartner living in Boston at the time of the blizzard, only five years old. She reflected on the storm, remembering how they would get food in the aftermath.

        “My mom would have to pull us on a sled to the corner store for bread, milk, etc. But the power was out so we would just give [the delivery driver] money and shop out of the back of the delivery truck.” 

        Hudson also explained that, as a kid, it was very fun to experience, and it felt like a huge vacation. Children at the time had at least two weeks off from school, and many kids were able to enjoy the 12-15 foot high snow drifts by sledding and playing outside. “The drifts were so high that they covered the sliding glass door in the house. My dad actually held me up and I was able to tunnel through the snow to the top and see outside, and wow,” Hudson said.

        Foran marketing teacher Louisse Brown remembers the storm as well, saying, “I had just bought a home in Huntington and the blizzard hit.  I literally did not see the front lawn until April! I knew that the front lawn had a small stone fence around one of the trees, but could not find it for months!” The drifts and snowfall were so high that many items were blanketed for days, weeks, and sometimes even months as in this case. The phenomenon left people such as Brown and Hudson speechless at what mother nature could produce.

        However, this blizzard also caused many problems. According to the Hartford Courant, four people died from heart attacks while trying to shovel snow, and close to 100 more died from other causes during the storm. People were stuck without food or power, and bulldozers had to be used to clean some roads. Cars were even abandoned and buried on highways across New England as people left them behind to escape the conditions. Cars that were free from the snow were almost useless because of terrible road conditions and the rarity of 4-wheel-drive cars at the time. Ella T. Grasso, governor at the time, closed roads and shut down the state in an attempt to clear the snow more quickly.

        Although the Blizzard of 1978 dumped less snow upon New England compared to other large storms, this blizzard holds a place in many adults’ minds as one of the worst in history because of the sheer intensity of the storm. High winds, bad timing, and unfortunate deaths are reasons to believe that this tragedy was one of the worst of its time, even 42 years later.