History

The Blizzard of ’78 | New England by the Numbers

A collection of interesting facts about the Blizzard of ’78, when over 40 inches of snow fell in New England’s hardest hit areas.

By Julia Shipley

Feb 07 2022

worst_weather_blizzardof1978

The Blizzard of 1978 stranded hundreds of cars on New England highways, including these on Route 128 South in Needham, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit : Jim McDevitt/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Wikimedia Commons
How much do you know about the Blizzard of ’78, one of the worst snowstorms in New England history? Learn more below.
The Worst New England Weather Disasters
The Blizzard of 1978 stranded hundreds of cars on New England highways, including these on Route 128 South in Needham, Massachusetts.
Photo Credit : Jim McDevitt/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Wikimedia Commons

The Blizzard of ’78 | Facts, Trivia & Memories

2/6/78

Date that the blizzard began in the Northeast

10 a.m.

Time that light snow began falling in Boston

33

Number of hours of snowfall that followed

92

Wind speed in mph of the storm’s highest onshore gust (recorded in Chatham, MA)

40+

Number of inches of snow that gell on New England’s hardest-hit areas

3,500

Estimated number of motorists left stranded on Route 128

54

Number of New Englanders killed in the storm (29 in MA alone)

2,100

Number of coastal homes destroyed in New England

5

Number of crew on the pilot boat Can Do, which eas lost while rescuing a Coast Guard boat

61

Estimated percentage of destroyed homes that were on the South Shore

$1 billion

Estimated cost of storm cleanup across New England

0

Number of times before the blizzard that The Boston Globe had failed to distribute an edition

400

Number of volunteers who helped shovel out the MBTA’s tracks

Reader Memories of the Blizzard of ’78

One of my best childhood memories. I was 12, but it was amazing how everyone came together to help each other. I remember walking with my Dad and neighbors and my sled about 2 miles to go to the Big G market. No school for days and days. The national guard plowing. I’m sure now there were some people that didn’t fare so well, but for my memory, it was a wonderful time. — Gary R. I was 9 months pregnant and trapped by 4 feet of snow surrounding our house. I put our 0ldest girl out a porch window to kick snow away from the front door. Baby waited almost 2 weeks to arrive, thank heavens. — Sandy R. I was 12 years old, my father got a new snowblower, we didn’t see him for a week. He plowed the whole neighborhood. His new toy. — Patty B. I was working as a nurse at Spaulding Rehab in Boston and couldn’t get home for a week. No one could get in to relieve us. The city was so beautiful. Cross country skiers on the streets. — Susan W. Remember it well. We were living in Bristol, NH, high on a hill. We had no power for many days. Fortunately, I had a kitchen wood cookstove for heat and our water was gravity fed. The local farmers helped each other with hand milking. It was an interesting time. — Sylvia E. Do you remember the Blizzard of ’78? Share your memories below!