Remembering the Blizzard of 77

January 26, 2017 - 11:52 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) On that fateful Friday morning, January 28, 1977, drivers were suddenly stopped in their tracks by the Blizzard of 1977. The storm ultimately killed 29 people, resulted in a federal state of emergency and cemented the region's snow reputation that lives on to this day.

Exclusive WBEN Audio 
On The WBEN Liveline

Erno Rossi. Author "White Death"  
Former WBEN TV Reporter & Producer Vic Baker


Lou Douglas manned the WBEN newsroom that day, reporting on the closures of the Grand Island bridges and the Thruway. Jeff Kaye put the music aside to update people on school and business closures, as well as those offering sanctuary for those stuck in the snow.   

FROM THE ARCHIVES: HEAR WBEN's Coverage with Lou Douglas


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During the Blizzard of '77, the snow was higher than the chained link fences in our neighborhood and we could walk from yard to yard over the buried fences.

 Cars and trucks were buried on Bowen Road in Lancaster. We had two men stay overnight at our house.

My father went to work and was stranded for two days before getting back home.

I was 15 years old at one point we had 3-4 ft drifts in front of our front and back doors. So I was volunteered to be pushed out a first floor window with a coffee can to dig out the doors

The temperature in my apartment would not go over 50° because of the wind and the very low temperatures

We were dismissed early from school Cheektowaga Central. Our bus got stuck at the bottom of the George urban bridge. The bus driver let us out. We put up the hoods on our snorkel jackets, linked arms and walked about a quarter mile dropping people off as we walked. That would never be allowed today.

My mother,sister and I walked the half mile down to Bells to get groceries. On the way back home we walked a block and a half past our street. Didn't even see it

I was exactly 20 years old and working for AM&As downtown Buffalo. I wound up spending the night sleeping on a pile of rugs inside the store.

My mother looked at the barometer that morning and told us that we weren't going to school. She said it was the lowest she had ever seen it.

My husband was delivering medicine on his snowmobile. He went over a drift and heard a thud on the other side. Turns out it was a Volkswagen.....

We lived in Batavia & I was 13 yr old during the Blizzard of 1977. My father & I walked to Montgomery Wards to buy some snowmobile boots on Saturday. Then we walked to,I believe, Super Duper for some milk & bread. I will never forget that walk with my dad because we felt like we were on a once in a lifetime adventure! We used landmarks to find our way around town!

I was 12 during the blizzard. I can remember climbing the snow drift to sit on the roof of my house a ranch with my siblings waiting for my mother to come home from work at Niagara Falls Memorial hospital. A kind man from town, Pendleton went all the way up there to bring her home! We lived down the road. My dad worked at Bell Aerospace and stayed the weekend at work because they closed the Grand Island bridges, first time ever actually closed.

My wife, myself and another teacher were grocery shopping. We noticed the sky color change, realized something was different. Made it back to our street  (Angola) buried the car (never recovered, was apparently removed sometime that week), buried it about quarter mile from our house, spent the next week shoveling roofs on house.

 Will always remember My brother and I playing monopoly for 3 days straight during the storm....the game's bank ran out of money so we made up 1000 and 10,,000 dollar bills out of paper to keep playing...along with lots of IOU's...rents were very expensive in the game I remember.....I don't remember who won

I was born in 81 so I don't have memories of the Blizzard of 77. But growing up, my favorite board game was "blizzard of 77. Not sure who made it but I played it all throughout my childhood with my parents.

I was 10 yrs old and remember snow within a few feet of the power wires on utility poles and making tunnels in the massive snow drifts. My brother was 7 and stranded at the Newfane elementary school, ate ice cream sandwiches and slept on wrestling mats in the gym, before being brought home by snowmobile

I grew up on a dairy farm just up the road from Randy Bushover. During the blizzard our road became impassable, blocked by huge drifts. The milk trucks which transport milk from the farms to the processing plants couldn't get through so farmers had to dump their milk. After 3 days the highway department partially cleared the road to get to 2 farms. The "cemetery hill" was impassable for a week.

One of those stranded was Isabel Bodnar, who was in the Cheektowaga Garage to ride out the storm. "I left the office at 12:45, and I've been her since 3 o'clock, and I want to express my appreciation to the superintendent who sent the men to guide us here. They're serving us coffee and it's been wonderful," said Bodnar that day on our air.

The region was paralyzed for a week, and then-Mayor Stan Makowski asked for and received a federal disaster declaration with drifting snow easily up to some roofs.

ABOVE:  Depew, WBEN Listener Photo/Mark Becker

BELOW: Taking a break from shoveling in Clarence, WBEN Listener Photo/Gerri Spencer

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A Blizzard of 77 Slideshow.. including historic WBEN Audio


and more, from YouTube


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