Blizzard of '77
Twenty-nine people died in the storm from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, 1977 the first snowstorm to warrant a federal disaster area declaration. Total damage reached $300 million. For 11 days, national news reports showed images of a city blanketed in snow up to the roofs of houses.
When the blizzard began, it seemed like just another Friday morning snow flurry. But by 11:35 a.m., lightning flashed and the sky darkened. The wind shifted and began to howl. Soon, people couldn't see across the street.
"My reaction? Wow!" meteorologist Ed Reich said. "It was the most dramatic storm I ever saw." Surprisingly, the snowfall total for the storm was only 12 inches. What made the blizzard unique were the sustained winds, gusting up to 69 mph, which picked up the drifts piled high on frozen Lake Erie and dumped them in western New York and southern Ontario.
The winds were accompanied by Arctic cold temperatures, making it feel like minus 60 degrees outside. Whiteout conditions quickly trapped thousands of people at work, in cars and in homes. Some had to stay put for a day, others for the storm's duration. At least nine motorists froze to death in their stranded cars.
During this time WKBW Radio was the up-to-the minute source of emergency news for all Western New Yorkers. Not only did WKBW report school, office and factory closings but it was a major contributor of reports that cities, towns and even entire counties were closed and impassable due to blowing and drifting snow! The following audio clips were recorded during this event.
While listening to these recordings of the actual broadcasts, you may detect some anxiety in the announcer's voice!
Report 1 Report 2
Report 3 Report 4
Report 5 Report 6
Report 7 Report 8
Report 9 Report 10
Danny's Saturday Show