Below are quotes that help tell the tale of the Blizzard of '78.
Storms do strange things: they destroy natural boundaries and human life and, in the wake of danger, they build a sense of community and sharing related directly to the number of inches on the ground. Two inches and people still snarl at each other, 2 feet and all men are brothers.
-Mike Barnicle, Boston Globe
"The wind had blown severe drifts with some as high as the roof of the Scout. Each one took a tremendous number of passes of the plow to clear. My brain was numb and eyesight blurred. Everything had the surreal qualities caused by sleep deprivation. All I wanted was to slide into bed and sleep for a week."
-Plow operator David Porter
"Its the closest I will ever experience to wartime" -Francine Townsend of Hull
"Did I realize beforehand it would become an epic and truly historic storm? No." -Harvey Leonard (Weatherman, Channel 7)
"Triumphant now to face much tougher times,
Preparing for whatever life will bring,
New Englanders know how to take a stand,
Lying in wait to hear the voice of Spring.
-George Hillier (from poem "The Great Blizzard of '78)
"If I knew Amy was gone that night, I wouldn't have come back in. Or if she had to die, I wish we could have died together, so I could hold and comfort her."
-Sally Pineau on the death of her daughter, 5 year-old Amy Lanzikos
"Assured that my physical health and personal well-being were being handsomely sustained, [I was told} to relax and enjoy. I could not follow those instructions. Ordered not to leave Boston, under penalty of police action, no other thought sat on my mind more heavily than the realization I could not go where I pleased, when I pleased. In my view, I was being held under house arrest.
-John N. Cole
"Only one word describes the situation. It is 'awesome' "
-Governor Michael Dukakis after his helicopter trip to view the damage on the South Shore.
"Everytime the lights flickered, two million people crossed their fingers."
-Boston Globe Editorial Points
"It's deceptively pretty out there"
-Boston City Hospital Health Commissioner David Rosenbloom discussing the amount of ER patients in the days after the storm.
"The weather was awful, just lousy there too, Katherine and I froze. I had no vacation, didn't even swim in the pool."
-Boston Mayor Kevin White on Palm Beach, Florida where he was when the Blizzard hit.
"Back in 1978 we did not have the accuracy of the computer models that we have today. And in 1978 there was a brand new computer model that came out and it was predicting the storm to be pretty much the magnitude it turned out to be. But because the computer model was brand new, people did not have confidence in it. And so there was some question whether or not people wanted to buy into the kind of product that it was delivering. To me it looked very reasonable … and I took my little bag of clothes and I moved into Western Connecticut State College weather lab and I said, ‘I’m going to be here for a few days and there’s no question about that. It’s in the logbook on that day: ‘a granddaddy of a snowstorm is coming our way.’”
-Dr. Mel Goldstein (New Haven Register)
"Everyone I know remembers the blizzard the way they remember the Kennedy assassination."
-Richard Cordingley of Weymouth
"People were literally stealing shovels. People would shovel out an area, stick the shovel in the snow, go back in the house to warm up, and they'd come back out and it was gone."
-Bob Curry, Curry Hardware, Quincy
"By Monday afternoon if you weren't home, you weren't going home."
-Kenn Venit (WTNH Weatherman)
"It was no ordinary time at the Garden. Ushers were paid time and a half for five-day 24 hour shifts. Fans drank free coffee and ate free hot dogs. Reporters slept on the trainer's tables in the Bruins locker room and used combs and deodorant left behind by Terry O'Reilly and Wayne Cashman.
-Dan Shaughnessy on the scene at the Boston Garden
"Anyway, no one in New England drives much in the winter. The ruling couldn't hurt Massachusetts that much."
-U.S. Dept. of Energy's Bob Cecil on the Department's decision to count the Blizzard period when driving was banned, in future gasoline allocations based on past gasoline consumption.
"Even when the weathermen guess right, a great storm is astonishing." - prophetic words from Globe writer Susan Cabot in an article that appeared in the paper on the morning of the Blizzard.
"Apparently the old school forecasters missed it entirely. I always kicked myself for not going with the 1-2' that I did in NYC. It was a "computer generated" LFM [Limited Fine Mesh] model storm that looked suspicious, but once the heavy snow started in Baltimore, Philly and then NYC it was a piece of cake. It was the first ever computer model success story."
-Todd Gross, Weatherman for WRKO Radio
"In reality, there was no reality until we came out of the building"
-BU Coach Jack Parker on exiting the Boston Garden after midnight at the Beapot.
"It was kind of nice to rule by decree because the legislature couldn't get into the State House. So it was just me, you know."
"The most powerful supercomputers used for forecasting in the '70s would be matched by a typical PC today.
-Kerry Emanuel (Meterorologist, MIT)
"Enough already with the great Blizzard of '78. Blizzard stories, blizzard updates, blizzard programs, blizzard reunions, blizzard babies, blizzard T-shirts and blizzard advertisements. We're having a blizzard blizzard and it's worse than the original --- this one's not going to melt."
-Susan Trausch, writing in the Boston Globe in February of 1979.
"Twice each day I thought I was going to die. The water came down the street like I've never seen before."
-Anthony Chiarella of Revere
"The storm cut through the Scituate coast with a battlefield after effect. It was discriminate, totaling three homes in a row, saving half a house here, a whole one there. But the sum of it was nuclear: an entire area blown away in the grip of something no scientist, no genius, no human mind or authority can control. The storm came and went and never looked back at the survivors." -Mike Barnicle (Boston Globe)