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Anniversary of 1978 blizzard

This photo, taken by Ed Bremer, shows the snow on Main Street in Cedar Springs after the 1978 blizzard.

By Judy Reed

A man tries to dig out his car after the 1978
blizzard. Photo from Bill Steffen’s blog.

We received some snow this week on Monday, January 26—just under three inches in Grand Rapids, and up to six inches in Big Rapids. But that’s nothing compared to the biggest blizzard Michigan has ever seen—on January 26, 1978.

Do you remember THE BLIZZARD? When people who remember it talk about it, it’s usually with a kind of awe. And with good reason—meteorologist Bill Steffen said on his blog that “The Blizzard of 1978 ranks as the #1 snowstorm ever for Grand Rapids and much of Lower Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.” This past Tuesday, January 26, marked the 43rd anniversary of that memorable snowstorm. Steffen said that the 16.1″ of snow that fell in Grand Rapids that day remains the biggest midnight-to-midnight snowfall ever.

Muskegon received 52 inches over four days, and Traverse City 28 inches. Over 100,000 vehicles were abandoned on highways in Michigan, and more than 20 people died, many of exposure. Schools were canceled for two weeks, but the snow lingered well into April, with some drifts 15 feet high.

What do you remember about the blizzard of 1978? Do you know how much snow fell here? Did you or your parents abandon your car? Tell us on our Facebook page, comment on our story on our website, or email us at news@cedarspringspost.com.

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