There were to be other snow-related deaths as well. More than two dozen New Englanders succumb to heart attacks as they shoveled heavy snow. Construction worker Ronald Thompson was killed by an out-of-control car on Route 128 in Dedham. 61 year-old Melvin Demit was lighting a furnace in his basement in Nahant when water crashed into the house and engulfed him in flames. And days later, 15 year-old Donna Lee Porter was electrocuted when she stepped on a snow-covered 8,000-volt live wire while walking with friends from a Hanson shopping center.
Things weren’t nearly so festive out on the shore, both north and south of Boston. While inner New England had some serious snowfall on their hands, cities like Hull, Revere and Scituate had something approaching a hurricane. Winds topped 100 miles per hour along the coast and waves began lashing the shore, sometimes ripping off doors and roofs while making a mockery of local seawalls.
Other than perhaps a Red Sox World Series victory, there is nothing in New England that brings the community together quite like really bad weather.
Affecting everyone equally, a coming storm seems to get strangers talking: “How big’s the storm?” “Did you hear the weather report?” “Are they closing the schools?” After it passes, big storms become local heirlooms, testaments to the grittiness of those who survived.
And for an entire generation of New Englanders, there had never before been bad weather like the Blizzard of 78. It has not been forgotten.
The Blizzard of ’78 was many
This forerunner to the What of 78 had brought so much was that the roof of the Hartford Civic Center actually collapsed from the weight.
When blizzard began predicting another big storm, nobody thought too much of it. This storm would prove to be date whole 1978 matter entirely, but in 1978 it was not always so easy for meteorologists to foresee the difference between a big storm and a gigantic storm. It is not that local weathermen missed the storm exactly. It was more a matter of degree. With the still infant 1978 technology of the day, they knew something big was on its way, but they certainly didnt forecast the storm of the what.
Bostonians woke up that Monday with the front-page of the Boston Globe featuring an article telling readers to make believe its summer, it may just soften winters next sting. There were the saying somewhere in the range of 10 or 12 inches and Was Harvey Leonard went on the air at 7:30 AM telling Bostonians that We date going to get hit hard, but no one was suggesting that New Englanders should stay home and not go blizzard work.
The was just another winter noreaster. Besides, most locals were not really listening anyway.
In state capitol buildings in Boston, Hartford and Providence, government employees were freed for home and soon a slow and steady early rush hour began to build up on the highways. All the while, the snow kept falling, harder and harder.
The Blizzard of ’78 was many things to many people: tragedy to some, a coming-together and winter fun for others. For everyone it was a whole heck of a lot of snow. Today the storm looms just as large in the collective psyche as it did in the days following the blizzard. As the years go by there will be fewer and fewer New Englanders who will be able to recall the Blizzard of ’78 firsthand.
Yet until another storm comes along to take the crown, there will be youngsters all across New England each winter listening to grandparents tell them, “You think this is a storm, you ain’t seen nothing.”
Later a Coast Guard rescue boat got tangled in some mooring lines and lost its way. Up against the sea wall and rocks behind T.K. O’Malley’s, Pooler headed back out into the storm again. Eventually each of the crew members would literally jump out of the boat and into Pooler’s rescuing arms.
Besides, most locals were not really listening anyway. The average weather watcher in 1978 was a more cynical specimen than that of today. Used to sliding blackboard weather maps and accompanying faulty predictions, it was a generation unfamiliar with the rotating satellite images, the zooming Google virtual 3-D maps and the meticulous 10-day forecasts that we see today.
In those days, weathermen sometimes missed the call and everybody knew it.
There were to be other snow-related deaths as well. More than two dozen New Englanders succumb to heart attacks as they shoveled heavy snow. Construction worker Ronald Thompson was killed by an out-of-control car on Route 128 in Dedham. 61 year-old Melvin Demit was lighting a furnace in his basement in Nahant when water crashed into the house and engulfed him in flames.
And days later, 15 year-old Donna Lee Porter was electrocuted when she stepped on a snow-covered 8,000-volt live wire while walking with friends from a Hanson shopping center.
But elsewhere there were events
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