Storm to hit NE near anniversary of ‘78 Blizzard
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Wednesday marked 35 years since the infamous Blizzard of '78, and the possibility of another big storm is bringing back some bad memories for some -- but much has changed since then.
On Feb. 6, 1978, people weren’t warned of a blizzard. At the time, a “Snow Watch” was issued; a relatively common warning in New England.
Predicting wasn't easy though; there were no fancy computer models, no computers at all.
“If you walked into a weather office, it was a very classic sound; the click-clacking of teletypes,” said Bob Thompson, National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service predicted six inches of snow, but New England got walloped: 25 inches in Boston -- some places got three feet of snow.
Sounds familiar to forecasts this week? Well there are some similarities, but don't expect the same outcome.
“The ‘78 blizzard stalled for quite a while. This storm too looks like it may stall. But instead of stalling for two to three days, it may be more in the order of 12 to 24 hours,” said Thompson.
Today, there are more accurate forecasts thanks to better technology and years of studying weather patterns.
“We were relying upon fax machines where we’d get printed, often fuzzy, copies of maps and not nearly the fields or the different levels that we have now,” said Thompson.
Also, the response is better; there are more tow trucks on the road and better working relationships between forecasters and first responders.
“It really comes down to being able to communicate the impact,” said Thompson.