This Was A Blizzard, Didn’t Juno

A house almost completely buried in snow in Tonawanda, New York (January 30, 1977)

A house almost completely buried in snow in Tonawanda, New York (January 30, 1977)

“Whiteout is a weather condition in which visibility and contrast are severely reduced by snow or sand. The horizon disappears completely and there are no reference points at all, leaving the individual with a distorted orientation.”

Wow! - Photo via

Wow! – Photo via

Thirty eight years ago today, a storm of epic proportions hit the Western New York area, and left a city crippled. It only need to be mentioned by two numbers, and any Western New Yorker knows what you’re talking about….. ’77. How bad was that Blizzard? Well here are the numbers, over 100 inches of snow fell over a four day period, wind gusts up to 50 mph, created drifts of snow as tall as 30-40 FEET high, and accounted for 23 deaths! Sounds a little familiar doesn’t it?

This makes the #blizzardof2015 or Juno look like a dusting, and in reality that’s mostly what it was for New York City. After shutting down the city, subway, and roads after 11pm on Monday night, the Governor awoke to maybe 2-4 inches of snow. It seems that the storm of the century, that everyone from CNN, to The Weather Channel, and every other news outlet, had proclaimed may be the worst storm that New York City had ever seen, had shifted almost 60-75 miles East from where meteorologists had predicted. So while Montauk, Nantucket, and Boston bared the brunt of this storm, New York City was like Wha Happened????

That's a lot of snow!

That’s a lot of snow!

In reality, no one from Western New York, couldn’t help but snicker at all this fuss. I mean 2-3 feet of snow? Are you kidding me? We call that a day in January, and who could blame us, after we had just had a storm in November that dumped 7-10 feet of snow in some locations. Let us not forget the two Blizzards that hit Western New York early in 2014, so yeah we couldn’t help but say “What’s the problem?”

Back to ’77 though, it kind of lives on as a myth, or urban legend, unless you were in it.  Stories that have been told reverberate over time, generally passed down to generations of families. My mother would tell me stories of her and her friends sledding down the top of school roofs, and climbing up snow drifts as high as two story homes. As a kid these stories filled me with a sense of awe, generally reserved for adventure movies, and the like. I mean what kid doesn’t want to sled down the top of his school, or climb to the top of his home? Leaving a child with a sense that they could soar to the top of the earth.

No Offense but I can still see the Statue of Liberty! - Photo via Julio Cortez/AP

No Offense but I can still see the Statue of Liberty! – Photo via Julio Cortez/AP

November left many of us with that feeling, even though only half the city ended up experiencing it. The other half, was left gazing on the edge of the snow globe, and I’m pretty sure that’s how people in New York City felt.


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  1. This Was A Blizzard, Didn’t Juno « Western New York Living - January 28, 2015

    […] This Was A Blizzard, or Didn’t Juno. […]

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