40 years ago: The Blizzard of ’78

Cars and trucks stranded and abandoned in deep snow along Route 128 in Dedham, Mass., are seen in this Feb. 9, 1978 photo, as military and civilian plows begin to dig them out during the blizzard of 1978. (AP Photo)

(WTNH) — $2 billion, 100 fatalities and wind gusts over 110 MPH.

The idea brings memories of a hurricane, or even a tornado outbreak. But starting 40 years ago on Feb. 5, it was a snow storm that made it into the record books as one of the worst storms in recent history.

Governor Ella T. Grasso stated, “I’m asking all businesses and industries, all schools, and all service firms to voluntarily suspend all operations.”

Photos: 40 Years Later: A look back at the Blizzard of ’78

It was a storm like no other. A massive low pressure system developed off the Carolina coast on Feb. 5, 1978 and moved toward Connecticut right during a new moon, creating a massive storm surge and flooding. At times, the snow fell at rates of more than four inches per hour, similar to the blizzard of 2013, causing vehicles to be stranded all over the roads in New England.

The storm was especially deadly, killing 100 people, including people along Interstate 95 who were poisoned when their car exhaust pipes filled with snow. When the storm finally finished, more than three feet of snow fell in parts of Connecticut, making it one of the greatest snowfall accumulations in our state’s history.

So, is it possible to have a worse storm than the Blizzard of ’78? Well back in 1888, a massive snowstorm moved through New England bringing, 40-foot snow drifts and almost five feet of snow to the northeast. Let’s hope it’s a long, long time before that happens again.