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Hawk Herald

The Blizzard of ’78

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Recently, West Michigan has experienced heavy snowfall, causing dangerous roads and many schools to close. Living in a northern state, we have had our fair share of blizzards, with the most recent one dropping around 12 inches of snow. Having to drive and work in conditions such as these would have been difficult, however, these are not the worst circumstances our community has faced. To gain that title, one must look 50 years into our past to the blizzard of ‘78.

On January 26, 1978, a huge blizzard hit West Michigan, dropping 16 inches of snow in 24 hours. Cars were buried in the banks, school was canceled for days and people were without power for weeks. Seeing as Michigan is not known to be prone to situations like this, it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to experience this.

To find a real, first-hand account of this winter phenomenon, I interviewed my Grandma. She recounted the abnormal event with clarity and depicted just how unreal it would have felt to be there when it happened. She explained, “[My husband] was sick in the hospital. I was staying at my Grandma and Grandpa Stasiaks so they could watch your mom while I went up to the hospital.” While on her way, that was when the blizzard hit. “I took the bus downtown to get to Butterworth Hospital. I got to the bottom of the hill at Michigan and Monroe and they shut the bus line down. So I had to walk up Michigan Street Hill up to the hospital in the blizzard while being 6 months pregnant.”

From there, she was forced to stay for three days due to the unstable conditions outside. “They were bringing doctors and nurses in on snowmobiles, there were people sleeping in the surgical rooms and I slept on a single mattress in Grandpa’s room.” Luckily, after conditions began to alleviate, she and her husband were able to return home.

In the most recent blizzard, the numbers were not as high as the blizzard of ‘78 but it did dump 10 inches of snow within 2 days. For students of Forest Hills, this was very exciting, as it would mark the first snow days of the year, with school being canceled on Tuesday, January 10, Friday, January 12, and Wednesday, January 17. While the snow and ice are beginning to melt now, be sure to still drive safely and cautiously!

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About the Contributor
Nolan Ferguson
Nolan Ferguson, Staff Writer
Nolan is a first-time journalist for the Hawk Herald website. He is a senior who works hard, has a creative mind, enjoys new ideas, loves to have fun, and makes sure the job gets done on time. Something Ferg is passionate about is programming theatrical lighting to music. In Ferg’s free time he loves to work on his light shows for either Eastern Basketball games or personal shows. You can often find him running light shows during basketball games or even performing light shows during halftime.
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