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White Death: The Blizzard of “77

For Buffalo New York, the blizzard of 1977 meant 2 weeks out of school from January 28 through February 14 and 181 inches of snow fall plus the snow drifts created by moving the snow off the frozen Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Other facts

  • During the blizzard, the Buffalo Police Department  answered 9,650 calls for service, and the Fire Department answered 1,570 emergency calls. Winds were consistent at 70 miles per hour gusts.  Fire engines got caught in snow drifts so firemen had to drag fire hoses to burning hoses on foot.
  • A 52-ton Marine personnel carrier flattened a State Police car and another car that was beside it buried under 5 1/2 feet of snow.  The report read “they’re both kind of squashed.”
  • People stranded in farm land in Lewis county had to boil snow for water.
  • Several people died of carbon monoxide fumes from cars and snow blowers.
  • One guy, after struggling to keep his driveway cleared from the winging banks created by the snow plows, stood in his driveway one morning with a shot gun to keep the snow plow drivers from covering his freshly shoveled driveway.
  • The entire contingent of 31 Coast Guard personnel were stranded from January 26 through February 6 It took the relief team three days to clear the road to the base. The storm was too much for even the Marines; a convoy of 84 Marines were stranded in the storm.
  • About six days after the blizzard  started, the Salvation Army estimated it fed 67,000 people, clothed 4,500 people and housed 850 people.
  • The Buffalo YMCA opened it doors to women for the first time so those stranded downtown could get showers and rooms.
  • The American Red Cross in Buffalo delivered 5 tons of food though local channels, .
  • A taxi cab company called the police to help them find 3 taxi cabs which were missing for more than one week.
  • Driving bans were in place to keep down accidents keeping phone operators busy answering driving ban questions: “Yes you can drive your wife to the hospital. Yes you can go to a funeral, but not to the wake. “
  • 3,500 snow shovels were airlifted from Columbus to Buffalo.
  • On February 4 Buffalo officials announced a general amnesty for 2,632 abandoned car fines and 500 towed car fines.
  • On February 12, an estimated 60 tons of Buffalo snow was delivered to Northern New York to help clear it away from downtown Buffalo.
  • Reference: Rossi, E. (2007). WHITE DEATH: The Blizzard of ’77. (30th Edition). Port Colborne Ontario, CA:  Seventy Seven (77) Publishing, Inc.




Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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