January 26th marks the 45th anniversary of the “Blizzard of ’78”! Can you believe it was 45 years ago? If you were in Metro Detroit at the time, you were probably doing a lot of snow shoveling. This storm was one of the biggest snowstorms to ever hit this area. Two storm systems moving from the South met with two other storm systems, one from the Southwest and one from Canada, to create an epic snowstorm the tri-state area has ever seen.
January 26, 1978, fell on a Thursday. I remember the storm starting the night before. Schools were closed a day in advance to get ready for all the snow. My father went to work as normal. He called at about 10 am and told me to get out and get the driveway cleared so that when he got home he could get his car into the driveway. I spent a few hours shoveling. While my mother had our big red Toro snow thrower. This machine was a monster. Another special thing is the muffler had rusted over time and had a huge hole. The snow blower was so loud everyone in the neighborhood knew when we plowed the driveway.
The problem with our house in Warren is the driveway was prone to snow drifts which made clearing the driveway and the front walk that much more work. So this 13-year-old me did a lot of shoveling that Winter. 12 inches of snow and wind gusts of 60 miles per hour, and temperatures dropped to 11 degrees.
I still had cool highlights after the storm as a kid playing in the snow. My neighbors were awesome! My best friend John was my buddy. His brother Paul was a super genius. He did so many cool science things we always looked up to him. So when we got all the snow he went right to work in the backyard and made a huge full-size igloo that would sleep 6 people easily. We all grabbed our sleeping bags to sleep in them that night. Mom and Dad had a different opinion and I was denied the sleepover that night.
So what did the neighborhood kids do after the “Blizzard of 78′?” we did what all kids did back then, Bumper Hitch. When a car would go by you would run behind and grab the bumper and in the snow-filled street, you would surf holding on for life and hoping the driver didn’t stop. I lost a few mittens over the years on bumpers but kept my fingers.
The “Blizzard of 78′” will be remembered for years to come as any storm that comes our way is always compared to the big one that hit us on January 26th, 1978.