The "78" Blizzard - February 5-7 1978
For those Blue Hill Observatory members who were unable to attend the 40th Anniversary of the 1978 Blizzard Event last February we have been sharing Sky Mails on the remarkable snowstorms that occurred during the Winter 1977-78. This storm is the benchmark for all other storms

The iconic photograph of Rte 128 at the base of Blue Hill
When the storm began moving into eastern Massachusetts on the afternoon of Feb. 6, thousands of people were freed from their jobs so they could get home safely. But the wind-blown snows began falling at well over an inch an hour, and soon the occupants of some 3,000 cars and 500 trucks became stranded in rapidly-developing snowdrifts along Rt. 128. Fourteen people would die from carbon monoxide poisoning as they huddled in their snow-trapped vehicles.“
99 lives lost – 4500 injuries $520m in damages.
Satellite image as the wall of snow spread into New England - snow fall became very heavy very quickly.
Snowfall totals across Northeast - 6-10 ft drifts added to impassable roads but very heavy snow for the evening rush home stranded many on the roads - unable to get home for days.

  • Blue Hill Observatory - 30.1 inches- Wind gust to 84 mph
  • Boston NWS Logan Airport – 26.7 inches- record to that date. Wind gust to 83 mph
  • Providence RI NWS –27.1 inches – record to that date
  • Chatham MA - Wind gusts to 93 mph with reports of gust to 100 mph on Plum Island and First Cliff Scituate causing tremendous coastal damage - multiple high tide cycles
  • Central pressure 984mb – 29.06
  • Wide spread impact: East Wallingford, near Rutland, VT had 30 inches
  • Prattsville, NY in the Catskills reported 25 inches
  • Albany, NY- 13.4 inches of snow
  • 10" snow on Cape Cod turns to rain/slush – classic coastal front 
It was the Coastal damage however that set this storm apart from all others
Minot Light Cohassett
Pegotty Beach Scituate
Hampton Beach NH
credit Lane Mem Library

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Charles Orloff, Executive Director

Don McCasland, Program Director