Snowflake Field Guide Part 6 – The Blizzard of ’77

The Blizzard of ’77 was noted mostly for its massive snow fall and biting temperatures: There were 45 consecutive days below freezing, averaging 13.80 F. Also, Buffalo made a record for the greatest one month snowfall with 68.3” (beat in 2001!).

The storm was spread from Buffalo to Watertown, NY, but Buffalo, being a large city, got most of the press and the lasting image of a snow-weary city. Honestly, it’s not. We’re more weary of the image left behind by that storm.

Just south of the city, along the eastern shore of Lake Erie – in the snow-belt ski areas they do get significant snow accumulation. The city of Buffalo is at the northern-most tip of Lake Erie and gets socked with a huge storm only every three or five years. But what city in our latitude doesn’t?

I wasn’t in Buffalo in 1977. I was a tenth-grader happily ensconced in Binghamton, New York, almost four hours away, blissfully unaware of what was happening in the northern half of my own state.

Here are some photos I found, for your pleasure.

NOAA Photo Library Image - wea00952

File:Blizzard of 1977.jpgBlizzard of 77

Each day this week, I’m posting some facts about flakes.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “Snowflake Field Guide Part 6 – The Blizzard of ’77

  1. amazing:)


  2. That telephone poll shot – Holy Cow!


  3. Hortist,Amazingly frigid! They don't make snowstorms like that anymore. I hope.Susan,I'm thinking these photos aren't necessarily from Buffalo. Many look too rural to be the city itself — especially that telephone pole shot.


  4. Didn't realize you were from Bingo-town. That was the big city for us kids out in the boonies of Windsor.


  5. I have a copy of a wonderful little book, called “Buffalo Buried,” that was put out after the '77 storm. Only 2,000 copies were printed. Filled with amazing photos and poetry and commentary. A number of images are from your neighborhood (Albright-Knox, Delaware Ave., Bidwell Parkway, Auburn Ave.) and some from Elizabeth's area (Allendale theater). The cover photo is full color, taken at noon, but it looks B/W from the intensity of the blowing snow.


  6. Holy smokes! Growing up in TX, my perception of Buffalo came from my mother talking about her aunt who lived there, whose husband died one winter when it had snowed so bad they couldn't get him to a funeral home or into the ground, so he was put out in the snow bank, which was up to the eaves. This southern girl is slack-jawed at those pics.


  7. Anonymous

    The pic of the guy next to the telephone poles was taken in North Dakota, March of 1966. All the other photos are blizzard of '77 though.- Jill


  8. Jill,I took out that photo from North Dakota. Are you some sort of snow photo archivist or curator? How do you come upon such info? Just curious. You're good.


  9. I was here during the Blizzard of '77, and even though I was just an undergrad at the time, I knew it was one of those events I'd want to tell my grandchildren about someday. As I recall, we didn't get all that much snow during the blizzard, but we had gotten a huge amount before that. I remember going out to bars (the drinking age was 18), parking in a perfectly clean lot, and when it was time to leave a few hours later, having to shovel out the car. That became routine. So all this snow was sitting on the frozen lake, and when the high winds came, they blew all that snow inland. Weeks after the blizzard, all the streets were plowed, but on side streets, the snow was piled so high it was hard to see around them. Approaching an intersection with a four-way stop sign was safer at night than during the day because headlights bouncing off the snowbanks gave you a hint that there were other cars at the intersection. Otherwise, you just crossed your fingers and eased into the intersection, hoping there was no one to your right or left. No, we don't get the most snow in the country. We don't even get the most snow in New York State. We usually don't even get the most snow out of the big cities in New York State.


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