Blizzard of 1978: A look back 39 years ago
SOUTH BEND —
The snow we're seeing this week is nothing like we saw almost 40 years ago to the day.
WSBT 22 Meteorologist Ed Russo took a look back at one of the worst blizzards to ever hit the area.
39 years ago on January 27, the region was a different landscape, a world of wind-whipped snow.
For many of you, the Blizzard of 1978 was one of the most pivotal weather events in your lives.
It is the snowstorm that's the benchmark of how bad winter can get around here.
A strong area of low pressure developed across the south January 25 and moved north, running into a very cold air mass, causing snow to break out all across the region that continued January 26 and 27.
This wasn't just any ordinary storm however, a widespread one to two feet fell across the area, and some spots got even more.
Travel was impossible, forcing some to resort to snowmobiles just to get to and from work.
Jon Thompson, WSBT 22 Morning Radio Personality, remembers it well.
"I was fortunate, I got to work and back every day, I shoveled my car into the garage on a Thursday and got rides to work with civil defense and snowmobile ride one day,” said Thompson.
Many people in the area working the longest shift of their lives, not being able to go home as many of the roads were impassable.
The wind blew the snow creating drifts as high as 10 feet.
And even those that had a ride to work, like Jon, just walking to get to the car was a chore.
"But it was tough to get out of there as it was anywhere, I remember walking maybe 150 yards from our driveway to McKinley and the snow was so deep I was winded by the time I got there,” Thompson said.
With the snow being so deep and the drifts so high across much of the region during the event, WSBT 22 asked how drivers and snowmobilers knew they were driving on the actual road.
He said if there were no trees in front of you that meant you were probably travelling on a roadway.