Remembering the blizzard of 1978

Major blizzard shut down the state


Michaela Carter, Staff Writer

In January of 1978, a paralyzing blizzard occurred in Indiana shutting down schools, workforces, stores and more.

This blizzard soon became known as the worst blizzard on record in the state of Indiana. Officials themselves were not sure what was to come. This blizzard set records in Indiana including the most snow in one month — 30.6 inches — and the most snow on the ground in Indiana at one time — 20 inches.

Much of Indiana was crippled for days. Winds approached 50 mph, wind chills approached -50 degrees and the winds would push drifts up to as much as 20-25 feet. Roads were nowhere near visible and some people could not even manage to exit their homes. 

This blizzard occurred 40 years ago on January 25, 1978, and the following teachers want to share their stories about what they remember from the blizzard.

“I was a freshman at Ball State living the dorm life. I remember the snow started Wednesday afternoon and by that evening it was obvious something big was happening. We were stuck in our dorms until Sunday afternoon and I remember the dorms running out of food. We ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches. It was crazy being stuck inside for four days in a college dorm. Talk about going stir-crazy.” Student publications teacher Tom Hayes said

“I remember the blizzard of 1978 quite well. I was teaching Advanced Biology at Ritter High School at the time of the blizzard. At the conclusion of the blizzard, the snow at the front of my house (west) was blown up to the gutters and it was impossible to exit through the front door of my house. I had to exit through the back door. We missed school for over one week because the roads were virtually impassable for days.”Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Mark Montgomery said.

“I remember snow drifts that went over our backyard fence – when we let our dog out she climbed up the snow drift and left the year so we had to go find her. I remember shoveling the driveway (no snow blowers) it took my dad, brother and myself the better part of the day to get snow off the driveway only. The snow was three to four feet deep in places. We missed school Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday before buses were able to get into the neighborhoods to take us to school. I remember watching the news and how the entire city was shut down and they solicited people with snowmobiles and 4 wheel drive vehicles to assist in getting food to people and help in emergencies.” PE teacher Mike Kirschner said

“I was a second-year teacher at Carmel – Clay schools. We were out a lot of schools that year. That was also the time we had gas shortages so basketball games were moved to the afternoons on the weekends and we had lines to get gas.” PE teacher and basketball coach Mark James said.