Sunday, December 26, 2010

The blizzard of 1978!

Nothing terrifies Rhode Islanders more than snow on the forecast.
Any news of snow set people running to the stores for BREAD and MILK, which is THE comfort food if you can't cook and if you run out of electricity and get snowed in for a whole week or two, it's just the Rhode Island thing to do.
The first years we moved here we got really worried to watch the panic around us.
We really thought something serious was going on, it was a sort of panic we had just witnessed in Florida during the 2 hurricanes we faced in 2004 when we lived in Hollywood.
The shear panic, people cleaning out grocery store shelves. It is a scary thing to watch, no matter how calm, cool and collected you might be, you get infected with the hysteria and start buying BREAD and MILK along with everybody else.
You would probably wonder why such panic, once New Englanders are so used to frequent snow storms.
If you are wondering about that, you haven't heard of the BLIZZARD OF 1978!!!!

Blizzard of 1978, killed 99 people across the Region

It completely paralyzed the state of Rhode Island and the Boston metropolitan area, 99 people died, mostly frozen inside their cars stuck on the highways around area, 73 in Massachusetts and 27 in Rhode Island, 1950 cars abandoned on Rhode Island highways and 3500 cars abandoned around Boston highways, which completely blocked the roads.

27 People died in Rhode Island and 73 in Massachusetts, most froze to death inside their cars

This tragedy wasn't as much about the amount of snow, there had been other storms with more snow, such as the blizzard of 1969 which dumped the biggest amount of snow ever in the region.
The Blizzard of 78 became a tragedy due to poor forecasting and the amount of cars on the highway during the heaviest part of the storm.
The weather service wasn't as precise as today so they got a lot of misses on the previous months, telling people about storms that never came.
What happened was that people got too comfortable and started not to believe the weather forecasting anymore...people ignored the weather forecast that specific day and went to work downtown Boston and downtown Providence...the results were tragic...
Area highways were blocked with cars, buses and trucks buried under huge snow drifts.
The national guard had to helicopter Army bulldozer into the area two weeks later because the roads were littered with abandoned cars, some with dead people inside.
The Army was forced to bulldoze cars in piles as if they were toys to try and clear the highways so the Red Cross could bring help into the region.
I found this slide that summarizes the Blizzard of 78 with facts and pictures.
Click HERE for the slide with facts and pictures from the Blizzard of 78.

People were snowed in for 2 weeks during the Blizzard of 78
The reason I am writing about this blizzard is because we have a BLIZZARD WARNING for Sunday all day into Monday!
We are fully prepared, we have extra wood for the fireplace in case we loose power, our heating is gas and all the gas lines are underground...our Ford Expedition is 4x4 and has a full tank of gasoline.
We don't have to go anywhere anyway, so we will just watch the snow from inside our little old Cape Cod house and take pictures to post here on a post blizzard piece.
These old Cape style houses weren't made for heat but they are sturdy and perfect for harsh blizzards, so bring it on mother nature, wind, snow and power outrages!
We are ready!



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