It’s the 42nd Anniversary of the blizzard of 1978

Last updated by Devontae Jackson

Dayton, OH on the morning of Jan. 26, 1978 – Courtesy of Wight State University Special Collections

Today we remember the blizzard of 1978. The blizzard started January 25, 1978 and continued until January 27, 1978.

Forecast Map for Jan. 26, 1978 – Courtesy of The National Weather Service

A disturbance started in the Northern Plains combined with another disturbance moving from the south. After combining with each other, the storm intensified according to the NWS. The blizzard of 1978 is known as one of the worst blizzards to hit the state of Ohio. The storm set new barometric pressure records for many cities in the state. In Dayton pressure dropped to 28.68 inches of mercury, in Cincinnati pressure dropped to 28.81, and in Columbus pressure dropped to 28.86. The NWS in Wilmington, OH says these readings remain the lowest barometric pressure readings in the State of Ohio and in the United States mainland that is not associated with a hurricane. Winds gusted from 50 to 70 mph just about all day on January 26. Throughout the state wind gusts ranged from 50 to over 100 mph.

Wind caused snow drifts from 15 to 25 ft according to the NWS. Snow covered homes all the way to the rooftop while all public transportation was brought to a halt, including trains and planes. Cars were buried on highways and many highways ended up being shutdown for days after the storm including I-75. Schools were also closed for about a week following the storm and there was infrastructure damage all across the state.

The National Guard was deployed to help with clearing snow, rescuing people and evacuations. The blizzard was declared a federal disaster by President Carter back in ’78.

According to the NWS in Wilmington, OH, unfortunately 5 people lost their lives in Kentucky, 11 people lost their lives in Indiana, and 51 people lost their lives in Ohio. Of those 51 people in Ohio, 22 people lost their life after abandoning their vehicles and homes. 13 people lost their life in their homes after losing power and heat. 13 people lost their life while trapped in their vehicle. Agriculture lost for Ohio was estimated around 73 million dollars.

The NWS in Wilmington, OH says, these are the official snow totals for the storm. Dayton with 12.9 inches of snow, Cincinnati with 6.9 inches of snow, Columbus with 4.7 inches of snow.

See more about the blizzard of 1978 here: The Great Blizzard of 1978.

What is a blizzard and what to do during a blizzard: Click here to read more.


Author: Devontae Jackson

Hello everyone, I am the founder of The Greater Dayton Weather Post! I am a learning meteorologist, weather enthusiast, and weather photographer! I currently attend The Ohio State University! Majoring in Atmospheric Science! Class of 2023! So, I update the blog whenever I have the time and I hope you enjoy the content!

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