The Blizzard of 1978: Frozen Snapshots from the Historic Storm That Slammed the Northeastern US

The blizzard of 1978 in the Northeastern United States resulted in a devastating nor'easter that left a historic impact in New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the New York metropolitan area.

This powerful storm emerged on Sunday, February 5, 1978, and continued until February 7.

Boston suffered unprecedented snowfall, with a record-breaking 27.1 inches (69 cm), while Providence also set a record with 27.6 inches (70 cm).

The storm accumulated 20.1 inches (51 cm) so far in Atlantic City. In Chester County, two suburban towns near Philadelphia received 20.2 inches (51 cm) of snowfall and the city of Philadelphia received 16.0 inches (41 cm).

The fallout was profound, disrupting almost all economic activity in the worst-hit areas.

The death toll from the storm was extremely high, with approximately 100 people lost their lives in the Northeast and approximately 4,500 injured.

Weather in New England is difficult to predict, and meteorologists have developed a reputation for being wrong.

Forecasting techniques and technology had improved dramatically in the 1970s, but the public was still quite skeptical.

As predicted, snow did not fall before dawn on Monday, and many locals thought it was another failed forecast.

Because of this, people had neither time nor incentive to prepare.

The region was already reeling from a January 1978 storm that dumped nearly two feet of snow in some areas of New England, and caused the roof of the Hartford Civic Center to collapse.

Massachusetts had a protocol in place to alert major employers to release employees early during severe storms.

Starting on the afternoon of February 6, thousands of workers were sent home, yet many others remained in the storm's grip.

The impact was profound, with some people left stranded for days. Many people found themselves trapped in their vehicles on the roads throughout New England.

Tragically, fourteen people lost their lives when snow accumulated on I-95 near Boston, preventing toxic fumes from idling vehicles from escaping.

During the cleanup, more than 3,500 cars were found abandoned and buried on the roads. This number does not include the countless other vehicles buried in driveways, roadsides and parking lots.

Other transport links were disrupted and closed across the region, leaving public-transport passengers stranded in city centres.

Rhode Island suffered one of the worst blizzards in history, catching both residents and the state government by surprise.

Just before noon on February 6, an emergency evacuation of all public buildings was ordered by Governor J. Despite Joseph Garrahy's instruction, a large number of people were unable to follow it immediately.

The impact was particularly severe in Providence County, Rhode Island, with snowfall totals of over 40 inches (100 cm) reported in towns such as Lincoln, Smithfield, Woonsocket, and North Smithfield.

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