Jan 25, 2023 - News

Looking back at the worst blizzard in Ohio history

An Ohio newspaper clipping from 1978 reporting "Blizzard closes county, state"

From the Jan. 27, 1978, edition of the Circleville Herald, via Newspapers.com

The worst blizzard in state history struck 45 years ago this week, knocking out power across Ohio and forcing then-President Jimmy Carter to declare a state of emergency.

Flashback: Residents suffered from wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour, wind chills of 60 degrees below zero and snow drifts a whopping 25 feet deep.

  • Fifty-one Ohioans lost their lives in the 1978 storms.
  • Because most roads were closed, the state recorded no traffic crash deaths over an entire weekend for the first time in decades.

Threat level: Civilians with four-wheel drive vehicles helped Ohio National Guard service members search for stranded drivers, clear off roads and deliver supplies.

  • Hundreds were rescued along a six-mile stretch of I-70 west of Columbus alone. One truck driver near Mansfield was rescued after six days under a mound of snow.
  • OSU nursing students volunteered at a local psychiatric hospital after only four of 215 workers showed up for their shifts.

What they said: "Unfortunately it takes the worst of nature to bring out the best in people," The Lantern student newspaper opined in the storm's aftermath.

  • "But the BEST of you did turn out to help and did a splendid job."

📬 Did you experience the Great Blizzard of 1978?

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