I was 22 when the great blizzard if 78 moved through the Ohio Valley into the Great Lakes. I was snowed in at my fiance’s parent’s home. My greatest memory of this event was having to scramble, crawl and climb over huge snowdrifts to get to our horse barn a half a mile away twice a day to feed and water the horses belonging to my wife to be and her sister. This was quite a strenuous and dangerous undertaking to say the least. There was a line of trees on the east side of the road which we used to direct our way so we wouldn’t become lost in the blowing snow. Being young we thought of it as more as an adventure rather than something that could have killed us. Having recently come back from northern Maine I was used to heavy snow and cold and how to survive in it for a lengthy period of time. My fiance was a petite girl of about 5 foot 4 and I thought I was going to lose her in a snowdrift.
The Great Blizzard of 1978 was a historic winter storm that struck the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes regions from Wednesday, January 25 through Friday, January 27, 1978. It has been cited as the worst blizzard in US history. The third lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the mainland United States occurred as the storm passed over Mount Clemens, Michigan, where the barometer fell to 956.0 Mb (28.23 inHg) on January 26.
Michigan Governor William Milliken declared a state of emergency and called out the Michigan National Guard to aid stranded motorists and road crews. The Michigan State Police pronounced Traverse City, Michigan “unofficially closed” and warned area residents to stay home. WTCM radio staffer Marty Spaulding, who closed the bayfront location station the previous night at 11 pm, was called to reopen it the next day at 6 am as regular staffers could not get there due to impassable roads. Upon arriving after a 45-minute walk in waist-deep snow from his home 10 city blocks away, he had to dig down “a foot” to put the key in the front door.
Below are the snowfall totals from the blizzard:
We were stuck way out in the country for a week before a road grader with a huge V-plow could open up the roads, then, of course, we had to dig out the cars. This was a once in a lifetime event for sure for Michigan. In Maine they have large truck-mounted snow blowers to handle the snow, here we are not prepared for it.
Here is Slims writeup on the 1967 and 1978 snowstorms: https://michigan-weather-center.org/anniversary-of-two-of-michigans-badest-blizzards