More articles by
Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
• Gratitude Journal, July 4, 2012 © 2012, Karla Dorman
• Be Thank.FULL
• Military Appreciation Night, Monday, November 16, 2009
• Golden Corral Celebrates
• Free Buffet with Drink November 10, 2003 (5-9 p.m.)
• One Life Was Saved: MINE
• Memory Jog: I Am NOT Having Fun Here
• Cedar Point's Done It Again
No Ordinary Blizzard
By Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
Who remembers the Blizzard of 1978?
A blizzard is defined as a snowstorm of great intensity, lasting three or more consecutive hours, which must have the following criteria: temperatures at 20 degrees or below, winds of 35 miles an hour (or more), with higher gusts, and a great density of falling or blowing snow, which reduces visibilities to 1/4 mile or less.
What hit Ohio (and other midwestern and eastern states) on January 25-27, 1978 was no ordinary blizzard.
It was the "Storm of the Century;" some even called it the "White Hurricane." It was classified as a rare "severe blizzard"--temperatures at 10 degrees or below, with winds of 45 miles an hour (or more), with higher gusts, and a great density of falling and/or blowing snow, reducing visibilities to near zero.
The first signs of impending trouble were two low pressure systems. One over North Dakota, moving south-east. One over the Gulf of Mexico, near the Texas-Louisiana border, moving north-east.
They met over southern Ohio and combined into a massive storm system. Rain was falling over the central and northern part of Ohio, while snow was blanketing the southern portions of the state. The rainfall quickly changed over to snow as the nasty low pressure moved north-northeastward; the snow grew in coverage and intensity as the barametric pressure dropped to record lows--around 28.50 in most parts of the state. Winds increased to a fury--70 miles an hour, with gusts over 100 (hurricane force!).
Forecasters had issued winter storm warnings for Ohio at 4:30 p.m. on January 24, but upgraded them to blizzard warnings by 9:00 p.m. on January 25.
I was living near Mansfield at that time (Mansfield is where I was born; I lived in Ontario). I recall many snowstorms, but this particular one stands out in my memory.
I'd gone skiing that January 25, 1978. It started raining, and rainfall can quickly ruin skiing in a hurry and make one miserable. I was sick of being cold and wet, so I went home. It continued to rain steadily all that afternoon, and when i went to bed that evening, it was still coming down.
At 2:00 in the morning, I was awakened by a loud clap of thunder. I got out of bed (to look outside) and what I saw scared me silly...it wasn't raining, it was SNOWING! I'd never seen that before (this phenomenon is called "thundersnow," and usually only occurs when there is a great amount of instability in the upper atmosphere). Then, I noticed the power was out. I crawled back in bed and snuggled up against my twin sister and buried my head under the covers (storm phobic that I am). Finally, finally, I went back to sleep.
When I awakened the next morning, it was still snowing heavily; you couldn't see very far at all. Everything was virtually a white-out. The wind was unbelievable; the snow I could see was blowing straight sideways! The electricity was still out; daddy had put some logs on the fire, so the entire family congregated in the living room for the next couple of days, until power could be restored.
It snowed all that day and part of the next. Classes were definately cancelled, most businesses closed, and even the Ohio State Turnpike shut down--the first and only time in its history that's happened! Daddy put it best: "Ohio is closed." It was, too.
Across Ohio, between 7 and 13 inches of snow fell. Drifts were enormous...a trucker (James Truely) had just dropped off a load of steel at the Fisher Body Plant in Ontario (west of Mansfield; that plant is where Daddy worked) and was heading out of Mansfield when the blizzard hit. The winds blew his truck off the road...he decided to just sit and wait it out. He was found nearly a week later--his rig had been completely buried in massive snowdrifts--alive!
Daddy was a firm believer in shoveling snow with the storm. I HATED shoveling snow, with a purple passion. When Daddy said, "Shovel," I said, "Yes, Sir" (but I won't tell you what I was thinking!). Grumbling under my breath, I'd grab that *blankety-blank* shovel and grudgingly start shoveling. Daddy said he'd give me $5.00 every time I'd shovel...hey, who was I to turn down cash? I don't remember HOW many times I went out in that danged blizzard, trying to clear the driveway...after about the sixth time in an hour (it seemed like it to me, anyway!), Daddy finally conceded defeat and told me to wait until the storm was over.
I wish I'd listened to him and shovelled with the snow...'twas no fun at all shovelling all of the snow after the blizzard ended--the snowdrifts were at least five feet high! (I'm 5'3" tall.)
Oh--by the way, Daddy did pay me. :)
I graduated in 1978. We were only given five "snow days." I missed nearly three weeks of school...I went to a small vocational school waaaaaaayyyyy out in the country, and snowplows couldn't get through the drifts. I didn't think I'd EVER graduate...but I did, although a couple of weeks later than anticipated.
I miss the snow...but don't want to go through another blizzard!
See, I live in Texas now. Been here nearly 20 years. It doesn't snow like that here.
'Course, there WAS that time I was in San Antonio in 1985, and they got 13" of snow...
Click here to post or read comments.
|Recent articles by this author.
articles by this author
|Gratitude Journal, July 4, 2012 © 2012, Karla Dorman (Wednesday, July 04, 2012)
Be Thank.FULL (Wednesday, November 23, 2011)
Military Appreciation Night, Monday, November 16, 2009 (Friday, November 06, 2009)
Golden Corral Celebrates (Friday, November 05, 2004)
Free Buffet with Drink November 10, 2003 (5-9 p.m.) (Tuesday, October 14, 2003)
One Life Was Saved: MINE (Wednesday, July 30, 2003)
Memory Jog: I Am NOT Having Fun Here (Wednesday, May 14, 2003)
Cedar Point's Done It Again (Wednesday, March 12, 2003)