Southern New Englanders reminisce about blizzard of '78 - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Southern New Englanders reminisce about blizzard of '78

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Snow started falling in the late morning hours on Monday, Feb. 6, 1978, after everyone had gone to work or school.

Then, it seemed, everyone left early, just as the storm was getting bad with snow fall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour.

"Everyone got scared and I think everyone left at the same time. No matter what we did, we weren't getting home," said Linda Marzilli of West Warwick.

Cars got stuck, so did plows.

The snow piled higher and drifted by sustained winds of 86 miles per hour with gusts along the coast to 111 miles per hour.

"We started to walk. The snow was up to our waist. It was crazy," Marzilli said.

The steady snow continued for 33 hours straight. When it was finally over, the enormity of the blizzard was clear.

"When it stopped, we had to go out and cut blocks to move the snow out of the driveway because you couldn't shovel. You couldn't plow it. It had to be removed somehow. It must have been five feet," said Mary Patton of North Stonington.

Thousands of cars, some with people still in them, littered the highways, including Interstate 95.

"The biggest thing I'll never forget is the woman who took us in. We were stuck in the street, all the cars. A woman took us into her home in West Warwick and she fed us. We all slept there. And I woke up in the morning and I lifted the shades and I thought, 'Oh my, they towed all our cars'. They were covered in snow. All you could see was a blanket of white," Marzilli said.

The National Guard was brought in on C-130s, and it took nearly a week for life to get back to some sense of normalcy.

Ninety-nine deaths and 4,500 injuries were blamed on the blizzard.

The cost of the damage adjusted for 2013 was $2 billion.

So when you snicker at those who make bread and milk runs with the hint of any snowstorm potential, remember those who do remember the blizzard of '78.

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