43 years sounds like a long time ago but for me, it feels like maybe 15 or 20. Of course, if someone says “That was 20 years ago” I always think they’re talking about 1989. Time sure does fly, as the saying goes.
But it has been that long since the Blizzard of ’78 – it’s the 43rd anniversary of that terrible storm that hit the Midwest.
Here’s the blurb I put at the end of my book, to give you an idea of the devastation:
“Starting on January 25th, 1978, a most deadly and severe blizzard hit Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Between one and three feet of snow fell in a very short period, on top of the twenty-four inches of snow that had already fallen. Winds averaged between fifty and seventy miles per hour, which created snowdrifts as high as twenty-five feet. With temperatures hovering around zero, the deadly wind chill reached sixty degrees below zero. The storm system produced some of the lowest barometric pressure readings ever recorded in the United States, not associated with hurricanes, with pressures falling below the chart scale in some cases.
When the storm moved eastward, it brought warmer temperatures that converted snow to ice and paralyzed most of the area for weeks. Over one hundred and seventy thousand homes were without power and many people were stranded in their cars and houses for several days. For the first time in its history, the Ohio Turnpike was closed. Thirty-one thousand miles of roads needed to be cleared. One truck driver was buried inside his semi and he was not found until after a week. Five thousand national guardsmen were called in by the governor to help rescue people trapped in their homes and cars.
Seventy people were killed by this storm, with over fifty of victims in Ohio. Nearly half of the victims were killed trying to leave stranded cars. Schools and businesses were closed for several weeks. Nearly two thousand homes were destroyed and the worst storm in Ohio’s history caused more than one billion dollars in damage to the country.”
I set the book during this storm because it was (hopefully) the worst storm I will ever encounter. The blizzard was part of my life. There have been other great storms across the country and the world since then, but this was the biggest and most severe that I was personally involved in.
What are some big storms you’ve had to go endure in your lifetime?