We set records this past winter for snowfall totals, recording 86.3 inches during the 2013-2014 winter season. But no single day could match the Blizzard of 1978, the most powerful winter storm to hit Ohio in the 20th century.
It struck parts of the Midwest and Ohio Valley, hammering Northwest Ohio on January 26 with snow, wind gusts that topped 50 mph, and subzero wind chill temperatures. On Jan. 25, 1978, the area was hit with thunder, lightning, and rain which changed over to 1.8 inches of snow adding to the 10 inches that were already on the ground. Jan. 26, the first day of the blizzard, brought an additional 11 inches of snow and high winds. The next day, Jan. 27, another two inches of snow fell.
PHOTO GALLERY: Blade pictures of the week, January 19-25, 2015
Snow drifts up to 16 feet consumed mobile homes and piled as high as two-story houses. Roads and highways became littered with buried cars. Blade photographer Don Strayer found this motorist digging out his car in the Glenbyrne Shopping Center in Toledo.
Entire towns and villages were forced to “close” as were interstates and the Ohio Turnpike. President Jimmy Carter declared a state of emergency for Ohio. Caught in stalled cars or unheated homes, men and women froze to death. Sixty-one people died in Ohio as a result of the storm, including nearly a dozen in Northwest Ohio and more than 20 in Michigan.
Snowmobiles became the most common means of transportation, collecting and delivering supplies, and helping get some emergency personnel to work, or rescuing folks in need of help. And as people dug out, the Ohio National Guard helped out, with four-wheel drive vehicles to help police, doctors, and nurses get around the area.
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