The Blizzard of '78 paralyzed the Tri-State 43 years ago, caused 70 deaths

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Posted at 7:21 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 20:32:34-05

43 years ago today, the so called “Blizzard of '78” slammed the Tri-State, the region, and the nation with a paralyzing amount of snow and cold during this deadly event.

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Over 70 people died in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana alone. Some trapped in their vehicles without heat and others without power in their homes. Two people died when a building collapsed under the weight of the snow.

The brutal storm reached Cincinnati by 1 a.m. on the 26th. Winds whipped to 60 mph as temperatures plunged to the single digits, and this combination produced minus-50-degree wind chills. The actual snowfall was only 6.9 inches, but over a foot of snow was already on the ground. These factors led to massive snow drifts halting everyone, everything, everywhere.

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Meteorologists, like myself, refer to the storm as a “bombogenesis.” It’s the weather phenomenon when there’s a rapid, explosive intensification of a low pressure system. Specifically, a low over Texas and a low over the Northern Plains merged moving north from the Gulf Coast into the Tri-State and beyond.

As a personal reflection, I remember my dad opening the garage door with snow over the top of the door frame. We had to take those old, silver metal trash cans and we dug into the snow and bailed the snow onto the garage floor to melt. It was the only way to get out of the house. It truly was an amazing experience.

It’s considered by most as one of the top 10 worst weather events of all time.

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