New version of Toledo Talk

    February 4, 2006

Blizzard of '78 revisited! - For those of you old enough to remember, does the predicted weather pattern remind you of the Blizzard of '78?

Remember how warm the weeks leading up to it were? Remembered how it poured down the rain the day before? Remember how that rain turned to snow? Remember how it snowed, and snowed, and snowed?

Just a little food for thought. And if it happens and you don't get to a grocery store, maybe a little thought for food! (See, I have a sense of humor, even if it isn't particularly good)

posted by MemyselfandI to weather at 1:42 A.M. EST     (42 Comments)

Comments ...

Yes, indeed, I remember the big one well. On that fateful night in '78, I came home from working the afternoon shift at DeVilbiss, felt like $hit, and fell asleep on the couch watching Charles Bronson in "The White Buffalo" on the old Channel 100. It took me forever before I saw that entire movie, always would just catch bits & pieces of it. When I woke up, I was as sick as a dog with the Hong Kong Flu. Looked out the window, and the snowdrift was up to my chin. I went to bed, and stayed there delirious for 4 days, other than going to the bathroom. My wife told me the fifth day we were about out of food, so had to go to the store(still sick, although feeling better)-and wound up bringing half the neighbors stuff back, too. Whew! Ahhh...but, THIS time, I'm retired, stocked up, and have 4-wheel drive. :-D
posted by Foolkiller at 02:27 A.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

I...umm....was twelve years old and remember not seeing a snow plow for a couple of days.

From the moment I saw my father tunnel a hole out the front door I knew it was going to be a good day.

posted by BrianInFlorida at 02:47 A.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

The forecast keeps changing every hour it seems. Friday morning's forecast was for less than 3" of snow by Sunday morning. Then later in the day the forecast was for 3-5". And it wasn't suppose to start snowing until late Saturday afternoon or early in the evening.

Latest forecast:

Updated: 2:04 am EST on February 4, 2006

Winter Storm Watch in effect from 7 am EST Saturday through Sunday morning...

Rain likely with a chance of snow toward daybreak. Little or no snow accumulation. Temperatures nearly steady in the mid 30s. South winds around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.

Rain and snow likely in the morning...then snow in the afternoon. Snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches. Early highs in the upper 30s...then falling into the lower 30s in the afternoon. North winds 5 to 10 mph...increasing to 10 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.

Saturday Night
Snow. Areas of blowing snow. Additional snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches. Brisk with lows in the mid 20s. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Chance of snow near 100 percent.

Cloudy. Snow showers likely in the morning...then a chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Additional light snow accumulation possible. Brisk with highs around 30. West winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Chance of snow 70 percent.

And it looks like the balmy weather of the past five weeks will be taking some time off this week.

So right now, the range of possible snowfall is 6-12". That's a quite a range in terms of managability. Six inches is easily managed. No big deal. Our usual for a "big" snowfall. But 12 inches is a pain in the ass, especially with the gusty winds and powerdery snow Saturday night.

Since we're making Super Bowl predictions, may as well make a total snowfall prediction as officially measured at Toledo Express Airport. I'll say 5". Detroit is expected to get 5-8" by Sunday morning.

posted by jr at 03:00 A.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

With it blowing hard off out of north and then shifting west, I think we'll see fetch off Lake Erie and Huron, and then even off of Lake Michigan.

I think a solid 8" by 6pm Sunday.

posted by ZeroData at 03:04 A.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Ol Mother nature lulled us into thinking spring was coming - we're still just in the dead center of winter here.

As I recall, it was warm before the blizzard of '78, and warm again right after too, wasnt it?

I was a jr in high school that year studying for 2nd quarter finals at a friend's house in the country. The dad came in and told me I'd better get on home, whic was a good call - they got snowed in on their farm for a week.

In town, we had a neighbor with a snow mobile, and my brother and I borrowed it and went around to homes in the country and ran to the store for people. the local iga store had no power but they were open and ringing up sales using a battery calculator.

And 2nd quarter finals were CANCELLED!!

posted by billy at 07:38 A.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

I don't remember it being warm right after, but maybe it was. I was living in Whitehouse and we spent the rest of the winter trudging down Sandra Drive, which had no houses on it and therefore was never plowed, but was the most direct route to school for us. I was 11 at the time. It seemed like we were out of school for about two weeks, but this is a guess based on the fact that we had to make up at least four days over the allotted amount of snow days.

Ahh... snow days... so much fun when you're a kid, such a pain in the ass when you're a parent. :)

My grandparents, who lived in Maumee, recalled the Anthony Wayne Trail being just a couple of ruts for a while, because all the rain had frozen to the roads with the snow piled on top. My dad was a Toledo cop at the time and said there were parked cars literally frozen to the streets. What a mess.

posted by valbee at 10:21 A.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Weather Channel is broadcasting from International Park. Looks to me they're planning on hunkering down. Judging from my past experences, The Weather Channel usually base from ground zero.


posted by BrianInFlorida at 11:34 A.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Don't believe the hype, folks.

posted by MrsPhoenix at 12:05 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

The snow has been falling by my house for about 30 minutes now.

The weather geek I was watching on the Weather Channel believes this one may get worse, as he thinks the rotation of the belt of precipitation in a counterclockwise fashion will mean that we will get hi with a blast from the south and then a wraparound blast from the west.

It's going to be pretty ugly, no matter what. At least the temps are not dropping down into the low teens with the Artic blast - that would be the worst scenario: foot of snow and slush followed by an insta-chill that turns the goop into ice.

Oh - and 1978? Detroit schools were closed for 4-5 days. They sent us home early the first day, and we went crazy jumping in snow piles for 4 straight days. Too fun! My mom had done the perfunctory pre-blizzard panic shopping, and we were just fine.

posted by historymike at 01:13 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

My mom's a nurse and I remember someone in 4-wheel drive coming to get her. I was 9 and having a blast!

Now, excuse me while I stock up on the beer for the weekend before I get snowed in:)

posted by aperson at 01:40 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Weather Channel is broadcasting from International Park. Looks to me they're planning on hunkering down. Judging from my past experences, The Weather Channel usually base from ground zero.

Or the hotel rooms in Detroit were all booked.

posted by thenick at 02:33 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

I also think that we are at ground zero for this storm, and I am beginning to hear the dreaded "BLIZZARD" word used by forecasters now.
posted by historymike at 02:41 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Come On Snow. lol,lol
posted by JustTommy at 03:06 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Weather Channel is broadcasting from International Park


(there's a joke that wherever they send Jim Cantore, that area is ground zero for a major hit -- in effect, it's his presence that causes the weather. I've heard that people in hurricane country lay rubber backing out of their driveways when he hits town.)

posted by ZeroData at 03:15 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

I was talking to a co-worker about this - she was about 10 at the time. There was no traffic, so her dad and uncle bundled her and her sister up and took off pulling them down the street on a sled.

Those guys actually went sledding down the high level bridge!!

posted by billy at 03:32 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Latest (3:21 PM) Winter Weather Advisory from the National Weather Service:

Winter Storm Warning

321 PM EST SAT FEB 4 2006



321 PM EST SAT FEB 4 2006





posted by historymike at 04:25 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

NWS Detroit/Pontiac noted their equipment picked up lightning over the lake and near Toledo... anyone had any thundersnow?

While I'm at it, it's quite a bit early to promote this, but hey...

Consider becoming a SKYWARN spotter.

9am Saturday March 18th at St. Luke's is the place... free and open to the public.

posted by ZeroData at 04:59 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Very cool. I have been a weather geek all my life, and I never pass up an opportunity to watch a good storm.
posted by historymike at 05:16 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Wow, we have the 3rd warmest January on record, and that damn little groundhog sees his shadow and screws EVERYTHING up. :)

I'm hoping it peters out, I have nothing on the ground here yet.

posted by JeepMaker at 05:20 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

It's sticking by my house (West Toledo), and is grayish slush on the roads.
posted by historymike at 05:22 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

No snow here yet.
posted by BrianInFlorida at 05:38 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

yes - two instances of thunder, but that was earlier this Point Place
posted by MaggieThurber at 05:45 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

"No snow here yet." Brian, just shut the hell up. :^)
posted by GuestZero at 07:26 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

k :D

(still no snow, but it got cold fast, 58. Had to turn the heat on)

posted by BrianInFlorida at 07:33 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

8:00 and not much to speak of in the way of snow. I have about a 1/2" covering the ground here in South Toledo ner MCO .....errrr... University Medical College or whatever they are calling it these days.

Since we have had a mild January I think the forcasters are blowing this storm out of poportion to increase our anixety and the network ratings. I certanly hope they are wrong, my damn shovel bit the dust in December.

I remenber the Blizzard of '78 very well. I had just bought a brand new car the day before. I worked the Midnight shift at a grocery store. At 8:00 a.m. I made my way home. Made it a 1/2 block from home and that was as far as I could go. I remember having to stick a Bicycle Flag ( you know those orange triangle flags on a fiberglass stick...You know You are a Baby Bommer when...LOL) just so the snowplow wouldn't destroy my 1 day Old TransAm. Not to worry...didn't see a plow for a week.

posted by KraZyKat at 08:13 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

You might not have snow brianinflorida, but according to an editorial in The Blade today, you DO have killer bees, fire ants, and a hurricane season starting. My nephew in Florida called today, smirking at us over snow and cold. Yes, I am jealous of your warm, sunny weather. Hurricanes, bugs and all. (got a room to spare for the winter?)
posted by starling02 at 08:14 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

THIS COMMENT HAS NOTHING TO DO ABOUT SNOW...but since I am new to Toledo Talk I cannot post yet. I was wondering if any bloggers have experienced issues today with Blogs posted on It seems I can log onto my account but cannot access my site. I have tried several sites posted only to get the dreaded "The page cannot be displayed" message.
posted by KraZyKat at 08:32 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Yes! has been spotty all day long. I participate in a blogger Meet and Greet every weekend and no one can seem to get into the Blogger hosted sites. It's not just you. :)
posted by valbee at 09:23 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Almost forgot.... the winter storm warning has been canceled for those who don't know... and I thought I had seen lightning earlier tonight, but I'm not convinced that it wasn't some kind of power surge instead. I called my son at home (I was driving through our neighborhood at the time) and he said all of the computers rebooted. And the light at Eleanor and Jackman wasn't functioning normally for the time of day (the lights were flashing).
posted by valbee at 09:25 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Thanks Valbee...I made some modifications to the template of my site and thought...Oh Shoot! I messed it up big time.
posted by KraZyKat at 09:28 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

Yes, I do remember the Blizzard of "78" well!!! We were ofcourse SNOWED IN FOR 3 DAYS...

I remember clearly the newscaster stating...more than likely you're in the same spot as yesterday...

I said back to him..."yeah...still on the couch"...

Talking about CABIN FEVER...the front door and back door were snowed in...finally the front door opened to NOT go any buried...roads not passable...sidewalks...

Let's hope we NEVER have see anything as that again!!!

posted by MARIELORA at 11:57 P.M. EST on Sat Feb 04, 2006     #

I remember the blizzard of 78'. Cars were buried in snow, you could not see the tops of the cars. One of our neighbors had a 4 wheel drive, and took grocery orders. Went out on a snowmobile, white for as far as the eye could see, and went over a cliff (it felt like, turned out was a very deep ditch), landed on my head (that may explain it). As long as I have supplies to get by, I am fine with being snowbound. Keep a fire burning, I can be happy snuggled inside for days. But the blizzard was hard for people who ran out of diapers, milk, etc. To look outside and know you had to clear that snow out of your driveway was daunting.
posted by starling02 at 01:08 A.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

I had it a bit better than most-when I made that grocery run for my Family & the neighbors, they all knew I was sick, so they all got together & got shovels & dug a path for me on the side street (main streets were fairly cleared off by then). I had a 6-cylinder Chevy Nova at the time , and everybody knew it went through snow pretty good-probably good weight distribution-so I was elected, I guess, once they saw I had to go out. Lived on the East side at the time, and the only place I could find that was open to get groceries that night was the Kroger way over at Miracle Mile.

Man....what a bust!! I just looked out the window, and we only got a light dusting-at least so far. Gotta love those weatherfolks-my Grandfather worked at the old airport when I was a kid, and he used to send up weather baloons, anong other things. Hell, they were more accurate then, and today they've got all this computerized crap. :-D Oh, well....indeed GLAD they were wrong. I saw enough snow last winter to last me the rest of my life.

posted by Foolkiller at 07:06 A.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

She called it right at noon yesterday when she said:

Don't believe the hype, folks.

Mrs Phoenix outscores the local weathermen!

I remember a former WSPD host who always said of local snowstorm preditions - take the low end of the prediction, and cut it in half, and MAYBE we'll get that much.

I heard someone say 6-12", so using Scott's theory: 6/2=3inches. And we didnt even get that. Ive been using that as a rule of thumb for about 3 years now, and it's generally right on. At least I didnt hear Blizzard Bill actually 'name' this storm, but I might've missed it.

For the conspiracy theorists out there, ya ever wonder if the local business sector encourages weathermen to blow this whole business out of proportion? That way the day before the big storm 'hits', you've got grocery stores selling a bunch of food, you have folks filling up their gas tanks, video stores renting everything but that last copy of Gigli, hardware stores selling blowers and shovels and ice melt (and I know I personally cant go to a hardware store and come out with 'only' what I went in for...

posted by billy at 08:38 A.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

My question, how much will it cost the taxpayer for the brilliant forcasting these last few days? How much did it cost the city to have all of it's road people out or on standby, most on over time? On chanell 11 last night, even the weather man couldn't understand why all the local new was getting it so wrong. I thought we were living in twenty first century? What's up with all this Dopplar s___?
posted by TIME at 10:46 A.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

have folks filling up their gas tanks, video stores renting everything but that last copy of Gigli

BwWwWAaAaaAHHhAA!!! I almost rented that POS Friday night, as I couldn't decide what to use as my free rental! That was AFTER I got gas, went to Krogers, etc;etc.

posted by Foolkiller at 10:52 A.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

Total snowfall in West Toledo as of midday Sunday: maybe a 1/2 inch if measured with a fishermen's ruler.

Detroit got only about an inch of snow, but Pontiac got 6-8 inches.

posted by jr at 11:48 A.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

Some of the heaviest snowfalls were in Lake Erie and in Ontario. We dodged a real bullet this time.

I wouldn't criticize the weathermen too much - this was one of those freaky confluences of heavy precipitation and a cold front that spell blizzard. It just happened to hit to the north and east of us.

Some of those snow bands on the radar were among the heaviest I've seen in a long time.

Well, at least we don't have much to shovel.

posted by historymike at 12:13 P.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

Much? I don't have anything to shovel! We got home from the gig and after hours quite late last night. Then I woke up (briefly) at 8:30 and the driveway, street and sidewalks were covered. I actually heard a plow come down shortly after. But by the time I officially woke up, the only snow that I have to clear is on my car!

Not that I'm complaining, mind you.... :)

posted by valbee at 12:42 P.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

The Almanac for this winter has stated that primary snowfalls for this region for Jan/Feb will be lake-effect snows hitting points eastward (Buffalo, etc.). Toledo is very likely to miss that ... as it has once again. The Almanac prediction seems to be holding up so far.

Since Toledo saw its 9th snowiest winter last year, it seemed likely that this year wouldn't be snowy, since each year seldom mimics the last. True, by Dec 21st, about 2/3rds of the average annual snowfall had already occurred, but that just suggested to me that Jan-Mar were going to be wet or dry, not snowy.

As far as rules of thumb go:

1. Each year seldom mimics the preceeding year. Hence, a warm or little-snow winter is likely to be followed by a cold or heavy-snow winter.
2. Toledo is on a geographic edge (land/lake) and weather can be chaotic therefore.
3. The lake itself supplies a heat advantage (not as much as an ocean, and not as much as a deep lake), but depending upon wind direction that could also supply heavy snowfalls.
4. If it's too cold, it's not likely to snow.
5. If November is warm, keep your car prepped for some tornado chasin'! Keep the following handy: weather radio, cell phone, binoculars, water, food, bandages, several flashlights (those million-candle spotlights are ideal), weather station contact numbers, and many towels.

posted by GuestZero at 12:58 P.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

Oops, should have put my new thread here. I have been sobbing all day because there was no 90 foot drifts outside. I also think the hype that the local TV stations put on their weather forcasting is sort of overblown. I remember the good old days when there were one, maybe two weathermen presenting the weather. When you are on a campaign, you watch the weather regularly and you would be surprised how innaccurate all the stations were. Oh, well, time to sob some more.
posted by chrismyers at 03:47 P.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

Just wait until Tuesday, that's when I fly in to Detroit. Wish I could bring this Az. weather with me to warm Toledo up.
posted by Judy at 05:09 P.M. EST on Sun Feb 05, 2006     #

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