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Blizzard of "78"

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by grapeford, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. grapeford

    grapeford Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Just got back from another night of plowing, and can't think of a better way to wind down by having a beer and checking out plowsite. Just wondering, I'm from Mass. and was a teenager back in the blizzard of "78" Everything shut down here for about a week. No school. no work, people died on the highways, you could barely drive on the roads. My question to you guys, do you think with the equipment we have today *(trucks, sanders etc..), technology *(radar etc..) that that would happen again ? Still look back on it, as one of the best times of my life.

    IPLOWSNO PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,619

    no those years were awesome as kid, snobanks so high you had to scale them lol, we'd build forts and im not talkin a hole in a bank im talking guns of navarone forts lol, i liked war movies lol. we had escape slides that went down the hill to the tracks so after a cop car would go by and he turned around we'd be gone lol. we had them on both sides of the road, so we could fight each other before the usual targets would come by. you could always tell what time it was when greyhound came lol. the cops admired us because are forts were cool, as we spent alot of hours making them. nowadays you never see any lol
  3. lucky4511

    lucky4511 Member
    Messages: 40

    i live in indiana and i remember the blizzard of 78 - things here totally shut down too. i know when i was a kid we used to get soooo much snow i remember one year we could just step over our 4' chain link fence...i must have been 8 or 9.
  4. grapeford

    grapeford Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Yeah, In those days we would walk around apartment buildings, knock on peoples doors and shovel out cars. We made a ton of money. Kids don't do that anymore.
  5. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I was but a realllllllly young thing in 78, the closest thing since was the winter of 96 I think- there was a storm that dropped 2+ inches per hour most of the day- there were abandoned cars on 495, 6 inch ice holes on the roads because people were determined to get home or to work and packed it down well before the plows could get out. Took me 4 hours to get home from work, normally a 45 min highway commute. I was just plowing then, commercially only.

    We have much better municipal response today than in 78- people back then also didn't do anything on Sundays, or feel the overwhelming need to be out and in the way in a snow storm.
    We would have avoided last years messy commute home if Mumbles kept his yap shut and didn't tell everyone in the city to go home at 1pm - he learned for this year. Now if we can get that Gov of ours to get up before 8 am to declare a state of emergency at a more timely hour we can keep people home from work and off the roads in bad storms like that. Too many working people are already at work by 8:30 when he declared SOA for the 2 storms he did this year.

    Unless we have a major storm you'll probably never see another shutdown like the '78 storm. By major, I mean 3+ inches an hour for several hours straight.
  6. erkoehler

    erkoehler PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,252

    We had a storm last year that closed sections of I90 between Janesville and Madison, WI for 12+ hours. People were stranded, accidents everywhere, etc. We really didn't end up with that much snow that day. I think 10-12in maybe.

    I think it could happen again without a doubt.
  7. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,193

    I'm sure it can happen again. You get a big enough storm, and you will get all kinds of people stranded. Lots more of them on the road today, so makes for many more obstacles. Also people forget how quickly a storm can turn ugly, they have no respect for the dangers. How many people are lined up outside a wally world waiting for it to open, when there are storm watch warnings telling people to stay home. Don't go out unless its an emergency. :dizzy: I have also noticed lots of muni have scaled down equipment because we longer get storms like that. So I would say definitely yes. :drinkup:
  8. willyswagon

    willyswagon Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Absolutely it will happen again. Google search White Juan. A two day strom in Feb 2004. It had Nova Scotia and PEI buttoned down for days. Eastern PEI had over 100cm. Keep in mind that PEI got hit later that week by another storm that left a further 65cm. I am trying to find my pictures taken on the North side of the Island, of a 950 Cat with the blower up at full loader height cutting into the drifts:dizzy: That winter was NUTS!!!:nod:

    All it takes is for one of these big systems to stall, and no amount of machinery can clean it up in a reasonable time frame,
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  9. jgoetter1

    jgoetter1 Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    That was mayhem. That happened mainly because of stupid people.
  10. lucky4511

    lucky4511 Member
    Messages: 40

    when we got that 3.9 inch shot yesterday morning in central indiana in came down in about 2.5 hours there was a 22 car 9 semi and 1 firetruck accident that killed 2 people. when we got the 13" last week they asked only people that had to drive do so but people don't listen.
  11. hedhunter9

    hedhunter9 Senior Member
    Messages: 212

    I remember the Blizzard of 78 real well.
    I had just bought a new 78 Blazer 4x4 the week before. (had 75 miles on it)
    We hooked up with the civil defense (Capt. Ed Friend of the South Bend Police)
    and ran in convoys to deliver medicine, food, Pick up doctors, etc.

    We ran for 28 hours straight. Came home and slept for 4 or 5 hours and went back out.
    The guy at the end of our street had been plowing our street constantly to keep it open.

    From my driveway to the end of the street, the snow was as high as the hood on the blazer. I had to ram it thru the snow as far as it would go, then back up and get a run at it again. Kept doing that till I got out to the plowed section.

    We ran 3 4x4's and 2 snowmobiles in a group . We would run the 4x4's as far as we could, then the snowmobiles would go the rest of the way, Either pick up someone or deliver the medicine or food or whatever. then they would come back to us and we would head to the next place. We got stuck so many times I lost count. But we would snatch the lead vehicle back out with one of the following vehicles. At one time, we had all 3 vehicles stuck and had to dig for about an hour.

    Everything was shut down... Everything. People were stranded at work, at stores, at motels, etc.... They had to sleep on the floors, tables, wherever. Some had no food.
    Had to wear the same clothes for a week. No showers. Etc...

    For the next 3 days, when we werent running for the civil defense, We ran food for all of our neighbors, but the stores quickly ran out of the basics..Neighbors helped neighbors.

    We filled our gas tanks up at the county or city pumps along with the police vehicles.

    On main street and Mckinley (US 20) a city bus was left stranded right in the middle of the highway. The snowdrifts were as high as the bus. 12 foot...

    In front of K-Mart, one of theCity fire trucks was stuck and abandoned and you couldnt even see it...

    My 2 Brittany Spanials walked right over their 6 foot kennel fence. We couldnt open our back door of our house as the snow was up to our roof...

    My Uncle brought his front end loader up from Culver and worked up here for a 10 day period, just moving snow. Slept in his loader now and then or slept a few hours at my dads. He made enough to pay for the loader he said.....

    It was wierd as all get out, driving down US 20 and seeing NO Cars, Nothing moving in the middle of the day.. Just people walking.... Hundreds of people walking, as that is the only way to get around. Skis and snow shoes if ya had em... Only one lane of US 20 was kinda open.... Snowmobiles and a few 4x4s now and then....

    Yes the Blizzard of 78 was something... It could happen again..
    There is not enough equipment around to prevent it...
    But just like before, we would survive.

    But plow trucks are worthless for a storm like this. Only front end loaders would work
    for this OR HUGE Snowblowers...They just dumped huge piles in the front yards of everyone. It was the only thing you could do....
  12. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,401

    It would be worse. As Paul said, most muni's have scaled back on their equipment and now every idiot under the sun needs to run to the store for bread and milk, the bank for money they can't spend because they're snowed in, gas up the car that won't move because it's buried in a drift, pickup 3 movies in case they do stay home, then decide to return them because they look boring and get some other ones, then pick up a pizza while they're out, then stop at the mall because they need a new coat, then head to Home Cheapos or Lowes and pickup a new shovel or snowblower, then have to get gas again for the snow blower and car. Etc.

    Then you will have the idiots that have a 4WD SUV that can go through anything, so they don't have to stay home.

    Think about common sense isn't very common anymore--just look at who we elected as President--so it would only be much, much worse.
  13. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,193

    Willy you guys still get storms regularly, heck it snows so much I'm surprised JD never moved out there :D: Danger is in places where it been some time since a big one. People forget, think its fun. Your right no amount of machinery can handle those kinds of storms. With the wind it not safe to be out plowing roads. Usually they just stop and wait till they can see again. Just plain nuts
  14. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    Hasnt that happened on the interstate in Indiana in just the last few years?
  15. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    I agree worse!

    I was 13 years old during the Blizzard of "78"...
    I remember my Mom being picked up by the National Guard and taken to work each night (RN).We had dead bodies washing up on our shoreline as the pilot boat(Can-do) went down trying to locate and save a beached tanker off Marblehead.It was a mess, that is when our town bought a large airport blower for the cleanup.We had firetrucks getting swamped with saltwater ,I remember the drifts from yard to yard going over 6' stockade fencing...
    People knew how to slow down and drive in the snow as sand was used more and that is what you just did.You had snow tires and weight and that is how you got around
    I think things would and could be worse now,The drivers now want to go the speed limit plus during the storms and they haven't learned to drive any better just faster...
    People expect a black and wet level of service now and they couldn't handle that type of storm.
    I know our State DOT doesn't have the equipment (Snowfighters).They would have to use loaders and graders that is all we have left of the heavy iron.It would be a slow process getting the roads open.
  16. big pusher

    big pusher Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 129

    You hit the nail on the head!
  17. grapeford

    grapeford Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    I do think that the advancements in weather technology has made a big difference in at least being prepared for these types of storms.
  18. willyswagon

    willyswagon Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    If by storms you mean over 20-25cm/snow fall, You are right! The snow down here for the most part comes with wind of 80-100km or more. For this last snow fall the weather guy said fortunately there won't be any signifcant wind with this system, it will top out at about 75km/h.

    We love when people say they got Hammered by 10 cm. You could eat a 10 cm snow fall. I assume they mean after cleaning of the 10cm me and the boys got hammered(drunk):drinkup: as there was nothing else to do:rolleyes:

    We are lucky that way. People know how to deal with it. Everyone goes to the store for milk, bread and the essitials before it starts(cause it may stall over head and be here for days). Everyone fills their car with gas before the storm starts(cause it is a great way to store extra gas that may be need for your generator, when the power goes out). We also pick up cash cause when the wires for the debit/credit system go down, you can still buy with CASH!!!payup

    PS The nice part of out here is that some snow and ice in a parking lot is acceptable! It's winter, surfaces are slippery, you should expect to fall. If you wear sneakers in winter, Your a Dumb Ass!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  19. eshskis

    eshskis Senior Member
    from 4
    Messages: 138

    Wow I remember that storm what a blast...., we got totally SMACKED, Yes that amount of snow will without question overwhelm the current line of of what we use today. The problem is not the snow plowing itself it is a lack of space to put what you plow.
  20. Mstrfxit12

    Mstrfxit12 Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    You folks in mass will remember the storm last December. We got like 6-8" inches of snow but look at the effect it had with timing of it. Commutes that take 45 minutes were taking 6+ hours. People were running out of fuel on the hiways left and right and just abandoning their cars right where they lay, which only compounded the problem. The hiways were gridlocked as were many of the secondary roads which prevented the surface treatment equipment from getting anything done. I think if you had a storm come through anywhere near the conditions of 78 it might even be worse. The only thing I think that has helped is the effect that storm had plus the effect the ice storm had earlier this winter that left some people without power for weeks. People have started to think again about preparing for these storms when they come through. And the stores are happy because now people are a little afraid again so the bread and milk purchase are way up ahead of the storms again like they use to be. :cool: