Reflections: The big blizzard of ’78


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

It was January 1978, when the Big Blizzard hit, affecting everyone on the east coast and as far inland as Ohio and other states.

Many of you were not born yet but those of us who were here, will never forget those days when the snow, wind, ice and cold slowed everything to a standstill.

According to the Feb. 2, 1978, edition of the Morrow County Sentinel when the blizzard hit, “the barometer hit an all-time low;” “Morrow County had the most snow ever recorded on the ground,” “the biggest blizzard ever swept across the county,” “the highest sustained winds were recorded,” “the most snow was recorded for any January,”

“More businesses were closed for a longer period of time than ever before,” “virtually every highway, road and street in the county was closed,” and “more cars and trucks than ever before were stalled on roads and highways.”

The agricultural loss in the county reached an estimated $1,000,000.

Ironically, just the week before, the paper headlined the heaviest snow ever to hit the county and a year before, in 1977, there was heavy snow in a blizzard in January of that year. However, the 1978 storm was more intense, covered more area and left more damage.

I remember losing electric and keeping warm with our gas fireplace as we shut off the rest of our house. We managed to get food to my sister in the country by going to a farm on a road parallel with hers then walking across the snow-covered fields to her home.

Schools were closed for a week. Sheriff Tom Harden used snowmomobiles, four-wheel drive vehicles and eight National Guard vehicles.

Nearly all industries and most businesses in the county were closed for varying periods of time, either because of no employees or no customers.

We were lucky to live in the village and not far from a grocery where we purchased food for friends and family who lived in the rural areas and could not get into town.

I will have more on the blizzard next week.

70 years ago, January, 1948: Patty Ault, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Ault of Cardington, won the cherry pie baking contest for students of Morrow County Schools held at the Pleasant School in Marion. She went on to represent Morrow County in the regional contest in Bucyrus.

Mrs. John McCutchen was chosen to head the Mother’s March on Polio in Cardington this month. Mrs. Ivah Denton and Mrs. Fred Kreis were named co-chairmen. Over $500 was collected in Cardington.

50 years ago, January, 1968: Cardington Elementary School Principal George Dion made a plea for volunteers to work half days in the elementary school library. Dion stated his wish to have the library open five days per week instead of the one day as it is now.

40 years ago, January, 1978: John Harbaugh, of Columbus, was named to succeed Adelbert D. Theobald as administrator of the Morrow County Hospital. The announcement was made by Bob Mathews, president of the hospital’s Board of Trustees.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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