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Blizzard in New England

By Patrick Mondout

The 1977 in New England caused an estimated $300,000,000 in damage - mostly in Buffalo, New York. President Carter declared nine New England counties Federal Disaster Areas which allowed the counties to receive federal relief aid. This was the first time such a declaration was made due to snow. It may have fiscally saved the city.

Source: NOAA.

 

Share Your Memories!

What do you remember about Blizzard in New England? Have you any compelling stories to share? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"I survived The Blizzard of '77 and wrote the book about it called White Death-the Blizzard of '77-Milliennium Edition. This winter hurricane was called the White Death when reported in East African newspapers."

--Erno

"I can remember people climbing out of second story windows onto the snow drifts in order to escape their houses. I also remember a DOT worker standing on a drift and touching the globe of a street light. When it all started, I had to tie a rope around my brother and sister to lead them home so we wouldn't get separated as we walked back from a friends house."

--Anonymous

"I was 6 years old during the blizzard of 77. We were living in an upstairs apartment in Depew. Me and my 7 brothers and sisters and a few of their friends who were stranded in a very small apartment. My father was caught out of town in Ohio and my poor mother had 10 kids to feed and not too much food in the house. I remember my older brother who had just turned 17 and one of his friends ventured out to the store in the morning and all he could buy at the store was a loaf of bread and some Jello. We made it through. There was no food at all left in the house when it was all over. Even when were able to make it to the store it took a few days for the delivery trucks to restock the store shelves. I was seemingly unaffected by it all but when I look back now I can only image what torture it must have been for my mother to feed 10 kids with no food in the house or in the stores."

--Anonymous

"I, too survived the Blizzard of 77, living in a town called Newfane, which is northwest of Buffalo. I remember being snowed in our house for days, the snow was over our doors and windows. It just looked like nighttime for days! Shortly after that, we moved to Florida and our first Hurricane DAVID in 79. We got trapped in our house then too!"

--thelydia

"As President of the Dustex Division of American Precision Industries, a Buffalo Corporation, I flew up from Greeneville, TN each month to attend a meeting of corporate and division officers. My January '77 trip coincided with the blizzard. The flight could not land in Buffalo and we went on to the next stop, Rochester. They had to abort the first landing attempt but on the second try we made it. Visibility was almost zero. There were four of us who needed to get to Buffalo. The other three men were Buffalo natives and had their cars parked in the airport parking lot. United Airlines supplied a taxi to take us to Buffalo from Rochester. The thruway was closed so we took surface highways. As the snow continued to fall the lady who was driving the cab said that she had had enough. We made it to Batavia where our cab driver had a grown son. I called the corporate offices and was told to stay where I was since things were impassable in Buffalo. The other men insisted that we try and the driver consented provided her grown son would accompany her. Little by little we made it and since a room was reserved for me at the Airport Inn across from the airport she dropped me off at the Motel after leaving the other men at the terminal. I remember seeing the snow piled up to 10 or 12 feet high where the plows had tried to clear the main thoroughfares the next day.

Once the flights were cleared to take off again I made my way back to Greeneville. It was an experience!"

--Roy

"I was a student at Buffalo St that winter living on Elmwood Ave. I remember jumping out of first story apartments down to front lawn level for the snow was so high. I didn't see our sidewalk until April and cars were buried so deep we were walking above them! Everything was closed but our local grocer let us buy food on credit until he ran out of food. We partied big time and just enjoyed ourselves. We all gathered together and lived collectively on our supplies. It was a very good time actually and we were all social. The National Guard made curfew times and we would sneak out around them. One night, being drunk, I left a house to go home and got caught in a storm and fell into a snow bank. I couldn't get up but one of my friends had gotten worried and found me and took me home! So stupid can 21 year olds be! The Blizzard of Buffalo was a great time and I only have good memories of that blizzard. But I do remember when all of the snow finally melted some dead people were finally found, very tragic. I believe it snowed a total of 196 inches that winter. The last snowfall was in May!"

--Don Areinoff

"I was 7 years old at that time, But I do remember waking up the morning after and the house was pretty dark still yet I knew what time it was on the clock, So I tried to look out the windows in the front of the house but I couldnt see anything, to me at 7 I didnt understand why I couldnt see, so I went to the back of the house and saw snow all over, My house was a split ranch so its one level on the front 2 levels on the back side, I tried to open the door to look out yet it wouldnt move, I ran and woke my mom and told her were trapped, to me this was exciting but scary too.

My mom had my brother climb out the kitchen window onto the deck and push the snow away from the door, well when we finally got outside to the deck we made our way to the front of the house threw a tunnel my brother and I started digging, when we got the front there was no front, it was covered so high with the snow drifts it looked like there wasnt a house there at all, My mom knew the storm was comming so we had enough food and things. we lived on Long Island and no one expected to be hit as hard as we did, I still don't know to this day how much snow was actually out there, but it sure was fun digging them tunnels. . . shoveling the driveway was another story!!!!"

--Heathers5469@aol.com


 

DISASTER DETAILS

Red Cross workers search for victims buried in cars following heavy snowfall in Buffalo on February 3, 1977.

Courtesy of NOAA

Date(s): January/February 1977

Location: New England

Deaths: 29

Injuries: Unknown

Damage: $300M


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