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.

Related: Michigan Weather History: Highest, Lowest, Deepest, Wettest

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

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Here are the snowfall statistics for the Blizzard of 1978 in Michigan, according to the National Weather Service (NWS):

  • Muskegon
    • 30 inches
  • Grand Rapids
    • 19 inches
  • Lansing
    • 19 inches
  • Houghton Lake
    • 15.4 inches
  • Dayton, Ohio
    • 12.2 inches
  • Detroit
    • 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

The Blizzard of 1978 was an iconic storm system made possible by two converging fronts, one from the Gulf of Mexico, meeting a northern system from Canada creating record snowfall and hurricane-force winds that shutdown Michigan's transportation system, both on the ground and in the air. Here's a look at WOOD TV 8's coverage from January 25th through January 27th, 1978.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

The Blizzard of 1978

Gallery Credit: Ethan Carey

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Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

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