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The Blizzard of 1978
Stacie Hanes

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A deepening low pressure system quickly became a significant storm as it intensified on February 5, 1978. The cyclone moved from South Carolina towards the New England coastline by Monday night, February 6 (Fig 1). Most of the damage to New Hampshire and Maine occurred between Monday night February 6 and Tuesday night February 7.

Several factors combined to create catastrophic conditions over New England over the next 36 hours, including: strong Northeast winds at the surface creating Blizzard conditions; the timing of astronomical high tide; and the fact that the storm was very slow moving.

The Blizzard conditions contributed to 1/4 mile visibility and strong winds. This made travel very difficult and caused thousands of motorists to either abandon their vehicles on roadways or stay in their cars and try to weather the storm. Power outages occurred at most coastal communities. Many people had to stay in shelters for days after the storm.

Figure 1

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