The worst winter storm in Ohio history struck before dawn on Thursday, January 26, 1978. The Blizzard of ’78 continued through Thursday and into Friday. Transportation, business, industry, and schools were closed statewide for two days with the normal pace of society not returning to the state for five days. Atmospheric pressure fell to 28.28 inches at Cleveland, the lowest ever recorded in Ohio, as the center of the blizzard crossed Ohio. This rapidly intensifying storm pulled bitterly cold air across Ohio on winds of 50 to 70 mph. These conditions, combined with heavy snow and blowing of deep snow already on the ground, caused extreme blizzard conditions all across Ohio. Enormous snowdrifts covered cars and houses, blocked highways and railways, and closed all airports for two days.
While more than 5,000 members of the Ohio National Guard worked tirelessly to clear roads and help electric crews, 45 helicopters went on more than 2,700 rescue missions. Volunteers took stranded doctors and nurses to area hospitals on snowmobiles and four-wheel drive vehicles.
A total of 51 people died, making the Blizzard of 1978 the deadliest winter storm in Ohio.
Where were you when the blizzard hit? What are your memories of that historic storm? Tell us on our Facebook page.