35th Anniversary Of The 1978 Blizzard

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jan 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-27 12:42:40-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Many of us may not remember this storm, but it was indeed a huge deal! This storm contained several attributes of a good ole’ fashioned winter storm as it tracked through the Midwest and Great Lakes. Plenty of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, Arctic air, and strong winds behind the system producing both blizzard and white-out conditions. Here are a few snowfall totals from the four-day period between January 25 and 28 1978:

  • 33.8 inches in Muskegon
  • 30.0 inches in Bloomingdale
  • 28.0 inches in Grand Haven
  • 24.0 inches in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek
  • 19.5 inches in Grand Rapids and Holland just to name a few

I can vividly remember this storm system slamming Southeast lower Michigan as well for us Detroiters. Our family piled the snow so high, you could actually touch the gutters hanging off the edge of the roof. I also seems to recall my dad shoveling a path in front of the bushes on the grass to shake-off the heavy snow so the vegetation wouldn’t get damaged (arborvitae mainly). We have yet to see another damaging system (of that scope and magnitude) hit this area since, although the blizzard of 2011 dropped a fair amount of snow across the area too…about 15 to 20 inches in many spots!

The attached photo is compliments of the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids. It shows an old-time station wagon driving to the Then Kent County Airport on January 28, 1978. Notice how the piles of snow are on the side of the road. Wikipedia has a bit more information on the Great Blizzard of 78 here. For those that would like to compare the two storms, you can find information from Wikipedia on the Blizzard of 2011 here. While we aren’t expecting much snow the next few days, in fact a warm-up is just getting underway, we do have the possibility of some light snow, freezing rain, sleet, and just plain rain Sunday P.M. through Wednesday A.M.. In fact, some locations could see an inch or more of rain through the period as most of the snow melts with temps approaching 50 degrees or higher Tuesday. Our warmest temperatures on Wednesday will occur after midnight, then fall quickly throughout the day as everything freezes and Arctic blasts back in. Get more at