Blizzard of 1978: When Mother Nature’s Fury Shut Down Michigan
For two days in 1978, Michigan felt the true power of Mother Nature's January fury. Record snowfall coupled with hurricane-force winds buried parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Canada.
This iconic whiteout, referred to as the Blizzard of 1978, remains the benchmark for Michigan's winter fury for those who lived through it. The legendary storm was made possible by the convergence of two systems, one coming from Canada and the other moving north from the Gulf of Mexico.
The Storm That Brought a State to a Halt: Michigan's Blizzard of 1978 Statistics
Here are the snowfall statistics for the Blizzard of 1978 in Michigan, according to the National Weather Service (NWS):
- 30 inches
- Grand Rapids
- 19 inches
- 19 inches
- Houghton Lake
- 15.4 inches
- Dayton, Ohio
- 12.2 inches
- 8.2 inches
The sudden burst of snow caused chaos within Michigan's infrastructure, more from the NWS:
The most extensive and very nearly the most severe blizzard in Michigan history raged throughout Thursday January 26, 1978 and into part of Friday January 27. About 20 people died as a direct or indirect result of the storm, most due to heart attacks or traffic accidents. At least one person died of exposure in a stranded automobile. Many were hospitalized for exposure, mostly from homes that lost power and heat. About 100,000 cars were abandoned on Michigan highways, most of them in the southeast part of the state.
Those who lived through Michigan's Blizzard of 1978 seem to recall the historic storm with a gleam of fondness and nostalgia. Looking through some of the photo galleries definitely stirs memories of a time when Mother Nature unleashed her full winter fury upon the Mitten State.
Blizzard of 1978: When Mother Nature's Fury Shut Down Michigan
Gallery Credit: Scott Clow
The Blizzard of 1978
Gallery Credit: Ethan Carey
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Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF