Boston Remembers the Blizzard of 1978

The Boston Department of Public Works attempts to clear Marlborough Street following the Blizzard of 1978. The owner of this photograph, Back Bay resident Susan Prindle, recalls: "The image I remember most—aside from being really cold for several days because the heat was off—is a lonely package of okra in the freezer at the 7-11. Evidently Back Bay residents do not eat okra, even in the most dire circumstances."




The snowfall in Boston so far this winter has been minimal, but 35 years ago it was a much different story.

On Feb. 6, 1978, the Boston area, along with much of Massachusetts, saw a record 27 inches of snow fall, with the added bonus of hurricane force winds. The storm began the morning of Feb. 6 and lasted through the following evening. It was a storm that was never really predicted to be so large, and yet from it one good thing came—we learned about emergency preparedness.

The snow came down so quickly (at a rate of one inch an hour) that thousands of motorists were stranded in snowdrifts as they drove down Route 128. Roads throughout the state were impassible and cars were abandoned at every turn.

For those of us who were old enough to remember, the memories differ. The motorist stuck in his car for hours on the highway, the family wondering where that person was, to a community paralyzed by Mother Nature in a storm no one ever expected. 

As a child it was almost magical because we didn’t understand the danger. Our parents shielded us from the chaos and we didn’t know people lost their lives in that storm. Looking back as an adult, it’s terrifying how unprepared we were for this event. 

Patch would love to hear your stories from the Blizzard of ’78 and see your photos. You can upload your photos directly to our image gallery and tell us your stories in the comments section.  

Editorial note: this article and the comments section are shared with the North End, Fenway-Kenmore, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Jamaica Plain, South End, West Roxbury and Roslindale sites. 

South End Patch