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Destructive Blizzard of 78 - A Storm From the Eyes of a Teenager

Updated on November 5, 2011
The storm is really brewing!
The storm is really brewing!
Route 128...death trap!
Route 128...death trap!
Wendi, Mich and Cheri.
Wendi, Mich and Cheri.
Mich, Cheri and Mom.
Mich, Cheri and Mom.
Uncovering the car!
Uncovering the car!

Massachusetts’ Most Memorable Winter Storm…I Was Fourteen!

On Monday, February 6, 1978 two weather systems collided and stalled over New England causing one of the most catastrophic Nor’easters in history. It was the most destructive and most memorable storm to ever hit the state of Massachusetts…it was the Blizzard of ’78!

This powerful storm dropped up to four feet of snow in some areas of Massachusetts, with some reports of fifteen foot drifts. The wind gusts ranged between 83 and 100 MPH. During the blizzard there were four successive, flooding, high tides…one running into the next, causing some cresting of over 15.2 feet.

The heavy coastal flooding washed away many beachfront homes and caused major damage to over 1,700 other homes. Approximately 17,000 Massachusetts residents were forced to seek emergency shelter. Schools, businesses and roads were closed for six days.

The storm shutdown Interstate 95 and brought Route 128 to a halt, causing several people to die of asphyxiation in their cars. There were fifty-four deaths reported during the Blizzard of 78, with twenty-nine of them being in Massachusetts. All of that being said, this is how I remember it…

I was sitting in class on Monday morning, just staring out the window, daydreaming, as usual. Now you see, even at fourteen years old, Mondays are awful. The sky was looking a little dreary, but then the snow began to fall. It started off as a very light snow, but began to come down rapidly. It wasn’t very long after the snow began to fall that the school announced early dismissal. Suddenly I loved that Monday!

As soon as my sisters and I got home I called mom at work (in Nashua, NH) to tell her we had been let out early. She informed me that she was heading home too. We had no idea exactly what we were in for…it was just another snow day.

I left my sisters at home and went to a friend’s house down the street. This was a friend who happened to be the sister of my “on-and-off” boyfriend for over a year. As luck would have it, by the time mom got home there was so much snow on the ground that she agreed I should probably just stay at my friend’s house for the night.

It was still snowing on Tuesday morning, with no signs of it letting up any time soon. As a fourteen year old I wasn’t too interested in watching the news to see what was really going on…I had another snow day, and that’s all I needed to know. I did manage to make my way back home that day, with some strong suggesting by mom.

By Wednesday morning we realized that it was going to take some time before they could clear the roads. We had nothing better to do, so mom decided to grab our sleds and head to the grocery store by foot. Under normal circumstances the 1.2 mile walk to the store was a piece of cake, but those weren’t normal circumstances. It was quite the adventure, but it was fun. We got our groceries and some exercise at the same time. The snow finally came to an end at some point during that day.

Massachusetts had been under a “State of Emergency” since the storm began on Monday, and remained that way for the remainder of the week. School had been shut down for the week.

Our house was on the outskirts of town, therefore we had to wait a little longer for the plows to reach us. The condominium we lived in was situated in a complex on a large hill, with ours being located in the bottom group of condos….so we went skiing. My sisters and I, along with a couple of friends, spent the afternoon walking to the top of our hill, skiing all the way down into a field across the street from our house, then hauling everything back up the hill to do it all over again. A snowmobile would’ve come in handy that day!

All in all, for a safely sheltered teenager, the Blizzard of 78 was an unforgettable, yet pleasant, experience. It was also the storm that opened my young eyes to the destruction natural disasters can leave in their wakes. It wasn't until I was done playing, and enjoying my time off from school, that I realized how many people had lost their lives and how many homes had been destroyed in the very same storm that gave me such pleasure!


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    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 7 years ago from New Hampshire

      You're welcome Brett.

    • profile image

      brettl1118 7 years ago

      Thank you wendy:) I still have a lot of Beautiful Memories of all my friends and childhood, I hold all of them deep in my heart everyday of my life

    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 7 years ago from New Hampshire

      I am so sorry that you lost so much from that storm Brett.

    • profile image

      brettl1118 7 years ago

      The memories of that storm will allways be in our hearts. I lived in Revere at 15 ocean view ave. For those of you that have The Boston Globe, I am the son of Madelyn Burdick in that story, also I am the boy named Brett Bindick looking out the window " which was a misprint" it was not important at that time. It was taken when me and my father was stripping the house out for salvage. I had dreams and goals and eventually a life taken away from me due to that storm. I am now 46 yrs old now and it still hits my heart of the loss, that so many people took from that storm. My mother passed away the following year. If anyone might have any old pics, or any information on the interviews at Revere High< I would like to see and have that clip of my mother and her 2 girlfriends to pass on to my kids.I wuld be so ever grateful..Sincerly, Brett Burdick

    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 7 years ago from New Hampshire

      Weren't those blizzards much more fun when we didn't have to worry about the cleanup afterwards???

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 7 years ago from Maryland

      I totally remember this. I live in Maryland and we got the same storm. The blizzards this year reminded me of it.

    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Wow, you guys got hit far worse than we did. I remember driving down to Winthrop (through Revere) shortly after the storm...just to see the damage they had shown on TV.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 8 years ago

      I was 14 years old and I lived in Revere,Mass.When the first snow fell I enjoyed it so much I got wet and stayed out too long in the snow.I got sick and was sick for the biggest baddest Blizzard in history.I remembered my cousins coming to our house because they got flooded out.So much snow.You took some good pictures.I was the camera man in the family and I didn't want to move from my bed.I got so excited when they announced thirty years ago the Blizzard of 78 came.No one seemed to care.I did and I wasn't even outside most of the time.Thanks for the memories.

    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thanks Cagsil. Were you skiing with us?

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 8 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Wendi M, Thank you so much. I remember that storm. I live in Massachusetts and have all my life(41yrs old). I remember diving off my front porch stairs into the snow and dug my way underneath to the fence in my yard. I thought it was awesome. It was a great Hub. I appreciate the walk down memory lane. :)

    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 8 years ago from New Hampshire

      It was quite an experience for me and my sisters. Thank you Money Glitch!

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Oh my I've always wanted to live where it snows a little, but this is way too extreme. The idea of being stuck in snow that deep seems as though it would be a frightening experience. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thanks Denno. Are you still in New England?

    • profile image

      Denno66 8 years ago

      Being from Western Mass originally, I remember that storm( I was 11 then), as a kid it was all fun and games, I recall too. I had no idea that many people perished though. Great hub, Wendi. :-)

    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thank you resspenser. We just got about 4 inches last night in NH.

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 8 years ago from South Carolina

      We don't get that kind of storm down here in SC and I am glad!

      I would not mind a few inches about the 24th though.

      Enjoyed the hub.

    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thank you RevLady.

    • RevLady profile image

      RevLady 8 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      Wendi M, your statement is so true of life, "It was until I was done playing and enjoying my time off from school that I realized how many people had lost their lives and how many homes had been destroyed in the very same storm that gave me such pleasure!" Isn't it ironic how the same conditions can bring pleasure to one, and devastate another?

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Brought back memories of the winter storms of my youth. In fact, I was caught in one when God called me to his preaching and teaching ministry.

      Have a stellar day!


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