Looking back: ‘The Great Blizzard of ’78’

According to records, the blizzard hit the area bringing with it a foot of snow, winds up to 70 miles per hour and wind chills near 70 degrees below zero

Cars were stranded in large snowdrifts all across the Ohio Valley.
Cars were stranded in large snowdrifts all across the Ohio Valley.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – January 26 marks the 40th anniversary of a massive snowstorm that hit Ohio.

According to records, the blizzard hit the area bringing with it a foot of snow, winds up to 70 miles per hour and wind chills nearly 70 degrees below zero.

Things got so bad, the governor called out more than 5,000 National Guardsmen to clear snow and rescue people who were stranded.

In all, the “Blizzard of ’78” is said to be the most severe snowstorm in Ohio’s history, causing about $210 million in damage across the state.

According to the National Weather Service, the blizzard was the result of a relatively rare merger of two distinct upper-level waves that caused an explosive intensification of a surface low-pressure system moving north from the Gulf of Mexico into Kentucky and Ohio.

The massive and powerful storm produced some of the lowest pressure readings ever recorded in the United States mainland that were not associated with hurricanes.

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