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Blizzard of '77 anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the Buffalo's famous Blizzard of 1977.  Well, famous to those of us who lived it, anyway.  Thirty-two years ago, I was a freshman at D'Youville college, living in the dorm during the week and going home most weekends because I was homesick.   

I don't remember that winter being much different from any other winter, but Lake Erie had frozen over earlier than normal, and there had been almost three feet of snow dumped on the city. 

Friday, January 28, started normally, I went to the morning classes.  (Don't ask me what they were, I don't remember that!)  But, by the afternoon, the winds were blowing up to 70 miles per hour and the temperature plummeted to zero (Fahrenheit).  Brrr.  Schools closed and some businesses let workers out early.  I wanted to go home for the weekend, so I called my mom to see if they could come get me.  Well, I had to take the bus out of the city, and they would pick me up in the town of Hamburg.  

Things are hazy, but I remember it being really cold, and it took a long time to get out of the city.  Ma and my younger brother came in our blue Ford truck to get me, and the ride home was awful.  My brother ended up sitting out on the hood of the truck, because Ma couldn't  see where she was going because of the blowing snow.  Yeah, she would probably have been arrested these days, but, things were different then. 

We made it home, and the electric went off for who knows how many days.  I didn't care, I was relieved I made it home and didn't have to spend it in the dorms, bored out my mind.  We had heat from the kitchen stove and our coal furnace in the basement.  With the electric out, we had no water, but we went outside to the well and pumped buckets and brought them inside, so we were set.  

I think the city was closed for like, two weeks.  I remember I never saw, or have seen since, drifts so high.  I wish I knew where our old photos are.  There is one of either me or my brother jumping off the roof of the chicken coop, about 12 feet off the ground, onto a drift that was about 10 feet high.  I remember flying thru the air to land in the top of the drift up to my knees.  Very cool. 

My late-husband's grandfather died of natural causes during the blizzard.  His grandma just left him in the bedroom, door closed, because there was no way that the coroner could make it through the snow to take him away.  He was there for some days, but, that's the way it had to be.  Reports said that 29 people died during the blizzard, which ran from 1/28 - 2/1/77.  It was the first snowstorm to be granted federal disaster status. 

I guess that was the 'blizzard of the century' for my generation.  And that was the blizzard that put Buffalo on the map as the snowiest city in the country.  (Which is false, by the way.  I believe Denver usually gets the most snow.)  The talk show hosts all made Buffalo/snow jokes.  We still haven't shaken that reputation, by the way. 

For radio broadcasts, cut and paste this site:
http://wkbwradio.com/blizzard.htm

For some pics, go here:
http://larc.hamgate.net/blizzard_of_1977.htm

Or, just do a search for 'Blizzard of 1977'. 

It was so long ago.  Gawd, I feel old.

 

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