Central Mass. Weather Expert Remembers Blizzard Of '78

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A photo from blizzardof78.org shows a snowbound Milford in the aftermath of the Blizzard of '78.
A photo from blizzardof78.org shows a snowbound Milford in the aftermath of the Blizzard of '78. Photo Credit: blizzardof78.org

SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- Shrewsbury Weather Analyst Jim Arnold shared this remembrance of the Blizzard of 1978 with The Daily Voice on the storm's 35th anniversary. 

I remember the Blizzard of ’78 very well.  The Meteorologists on TV were pretty excited, as that storm almost came out of nowhere.  Don Kent, Bob Copeland and Harvey Leonard all were pretty much on the money with their forecasts, which as I recall, changed the morning the storm began, and they changed in the sense that the severity of the storm was recognized.

I was living in Worcester and was on my way to work and the snow had just begun.  It was a very fine, wind driven stinging sort of snow, which transitioned to heavy snow rather quickly.  Work was dismissed before noon that day and I remember having trouble getting home even by then.  It snowed heavily and the wind increased throughout the afternoon and continued overnight.  By morning the city was pretty quiet and a state of emergency existed.  Our streets were not plowed for hours at a time, and traffic was non-existent.   People were out shoveling and getting reacquainted with their neighbors and socializing a lot more than before the storm.  I think Worcester got about 25 inches of snow, but parts of Northern Rhode Island would up with nearly 40 inches!

After the state of emergency was lifted, I took a ride to Gloucester to see some of the damage there.  It was stunning!   Adjacent to Wingaersheek Beach and high on a bluff was a house with the end of it either blown or washed away.  What struck me was that a bath tub was sticking halfway out of the house.   The most memorable thing though was a motel, several hundred feet away from the water that was pelted by boulders thrown by the waves!  It was full of holes, like a building in World War 1.   That display of the power of nature in the form of wind and waves has stayed with me to this day.

Weather is awesome; it is always changing and never quite the same here in New England.  The Blizzard of ’78 as well as our approaching storm are part of the wonder and fascination that weather holds for many people, particularly me.

James Arnold is the Shrewsbury Emergency Management Agency's weather analyst and a resident of Shrewsbury. He often provides predictions for local weather events.

What are your memories of the Blizzard of '78? Were you snowbound on the commute home, stuck at work or were you a kid thrilled with large snowdrifts and weeks off from school? Comment below -- and if you have any photos to share, email jpaluzzi@dailyvoice.com.

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I remember losing the power for 2 weeks, sleeping in front of the fireplace, and on the 10th day my father saying, the hell with this, we all climbed into the car and drove to Florida to see the grandparents!!