Blizzard of 77

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jerrysvoice

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Blizzard of 77
« on: January 28, 2011, 12:45:15 PM »
Couldn't help think back to my own experience 34 years ago during the Blizzard of 77.  Three of us were stranded at the Gifford Road Studios of WOTT/WNCQ. Mike Wilson, Gail Wood and I took turns with on the air shifts for two stations, manning the phones and an occasional cat nap for several days.  The drifts were so big that they buried the building in one huge pile of snow, yet the wind kept the parking lot relatively free.  However, the road up to the building from the highway was plugged.  Not much food to eat, except for some promotional packages of Oreo cookies and soft drinks we found in the storage room. Neighbors offered food if one of us would meet them half way up the driveway.  Mike braved the elements and struggled through the drifts for several hours. On the third day, Don Alexander managed to get to us via snowmobile with rations. It was a tough time for a lot of people. Farmers couldn't get their cows milked, a lot of people had little or no food and people were stranded wherever they happened to be when the first wave of the blizzard hit. Army half tracks were crushing cars abandoned on the highways. And, we were advising those with snowmobiles to be careful around the electric wires that now were a dangerous hazard for them.  On a positive note, the most amazing thing I remember about the storm was the snow lightning. There was a spectacular light display with a Tesla effect dancing between the four radio towers. Mary Hopkin said it well in her song: "Those Were the Days My Friend."
Jerry Reed - Whitesboro NY

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Offline Selma

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 02:47:53 PM »
Fond memories! Best of all, there was no school for a week!

My parents took in a Canadian family that was stranded in Adams Center.  A couple, the mother of one of them, and their kids.  "Grandma" made homemade bread.  We were lucky enough to have a gas stove/oven and heat, and the neighbors spent several days at our house too.

I remember walking to the local store, Fassett's, and most of the shelves were bare, but there was an army tank there and they let us kids have a peek.

The firemen cleared the sidewalks, but in a couple of different spots they made tunnels, and we played in them for several weeks afterward, until they started to collapse.

As a child I didn't have to worry about the logistics of it all, and it was just an adventure.

Offline MAMAD

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2011, 04:24:02 PM »
I was snowed in at Mercy for 10 days. My parents lived in town so I could go there when I had a few hrs. I lived in Black River at the time. There was lots to do. Everyone was on snowshoes, crosscountry skies, and snowmobiles. There were stores on the square where we could get food and all the bars downtown were open. They had a city wide dart tornament and went from place to place each night. We actually had a pretty good time, but I was glad to get home when it was over.


Offline Kurt Hyneman

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 05:05:28 PM »

We all actually did fare pretty well in urban areas. After the storm stopped it was kind of surreal to see military vehicles the only motorized vehicles traveling the streets and also, quite a different experience having to walk, snowshoe, or cross country ski anyplace you needed to go.  IIRC, after the storm stopped, it was another 3-5 days before the county allowed us to drive, so the roadways could all be cleared.

Maybe a few of ya out there remember who Jerry is.  http://www.jerryreed.com/radioearlydays.htm

Offline bigbore45

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 05:47:00 PM »


KH what happened to Gary B? Any ways, I was snowed in at the H.G.S.
for 7 days and plowed and moved snow 24/7. Remembered the grayhound
bus company sent its stranded passengers over to stay in the lobby.

Offline Kurt Hyneman

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 06:06:22 PM »
KH what happened to Gary B?

I can give you a partial answer. A nephew of his I know, told me when I asked a year ago, that he was enjoying the good life in southern climes. One of the Carolinas I believe.

I think his son is still with the JCSD.

Offline Chickenlegs

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2011, 09:00:50 PM »
I was a teenager at the time, and, of course, was happy about the school closings.  Pretty typical for that age.

I remember my father using his snow thrower quite frequently, trying to keep up with it.  The banks just kept getting higher and higher, covering our first floor windows.  I walked to Kinney Drugs at the Northland Plaza to get baby formula and diapers for a baby whose Mom was stuck at her aunt's house next door to me.  No cars on the roads, just this hugh Army tank coming down State Street.

To me, (who wasn't stranded), it was better than the ice storms we've had in '91 and '98.  We still had heat, electricity, and phone service.

If that happened now, I'd probably panic.
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jerrysvoice

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2011, 11:23:10 PM »
Last I knew Gary B was at a TV Station in Virginia.  That was about 5 years ago.

Offline geru

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2011, 08:51:59 AM »
Couldn't help think back to my own experience 34 years ago during the Blizzard of 77.  Three of us were stranded at the Gifford Road Studios of WOTT/WNCQ. Mike Wilson, Gail Wood and I took turns with on the air shifts for two stations, manning the phones and an occasional cat nap for several days.  The drifts were so big that they buried the building in one huge pile of snow, yet the wind kept the parking lot relatively free.  However, the road up to the building from the highway was plugged.  Not much food to eat, except for some promotional packages of Oreo cookies and soft drinks we found in the storage room. Neighbors offered food if one of us would meet them half way up the driveway.  Mike braved the elements and struggled through the drifts for several hours. On the third day, Don Alexander managed to get to us via snowmobile with rations. It was a tough time for a lot of people. Farmers couldn't get their cows milked, a lot of people had little or no food and people were stranded wherever they happened to be when the first wave of the blizzard hit. Army half tracks were crushing cars abandoned on the highways. And, we were advising those with snowmobiles to be careful around the electric wires that now were a dangerous hazard for them.  On a positive note, the most amazing thing I remember about the storm was the snow lightning. There was a spectacular light display with a Tesla effect dancing between the four radio towers. Mary Hopkin said it well in her song: "Those Were the Days My Friend."
Jerry Reed - Whitesboro NY

The Army didn't even have half tracks up here if they were even still in the Army inventory they were in the National Guard.

Ft. Drum was pretty small back then we had about 300 active duty and at the time of the storm a division of Amphibious Marines were training there.

I drove M113 and  M557 (s) that provided blankets (thousands of them) and food to mostly Volunteer Fire Departments for distribution to community members. We also provided evac to local hospitals when needed.

I drove an M113 over a State Troopers Cruiser on Rte 26 on my way to Evans Mills and Pamelia Fire Departments to deliver cases of C- rations & blankets. We ran over several cars that were abandoned in the rode one reason was you couldn't see them they were buried under the drifted snow.

The Marine Amphibious unit  training here used their vehicles to deliver essentials to locals. They were giant vehicles with 6 or 8 large tires the ones that can either transport on land or in the water.

Offline LarryTheCableGuy

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2011, 02:38:50 PM »
   I got stranded on Route 3, between Sackets and Watertown. I trudged my way back to the Jefferson Bulk Milk Store, and spent the night there with about 20 other refugees.
   About 3 AM, this humungous state plow was headed West. We pulled in behind the plow and followed it. They had to send a guy out front on foot to probe the snow banks with a long pole, to locate all the buried vehicles. After following a zig-zag path for 2 hours, we finally made it to Sackets. I still had to wade thru waist-deep snow to the front door. It took me the next three days to clear out the driveway.
   I also remember them bringing in the big rotary plows, as the regular snow plows couldn't handle the huge amount of snow.   
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Offline LarryTheCableGuy

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2011, 03:00:51 PM »
   Here's a neat clip on the blizzard:

   http://www.newzjunky.com/slideshows/Blizzard77/soundslider.swf
"You can keep your plan, you can keep your doctor, and costs will be lower". Barack Hussein Obama
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Offline tree68

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Re: Blizzard of 77
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2011, 10:49:27 PM »
I wasn't working at the time, but the ex was attending JCC and doing a student job gig there as well.  We (daughter and I) drove up to the campus to get her, hung around for all while with all the strandees, then ventured home, which was on Cooper Street at the time.  I remember Coffeen Street was deserted, but otherwise we much have caught a lull.

The IGA was right around the corner, so food wasn't a real issue.

The next time we got out was a walk downtown, where we watched a chopper land in the Sears parking log.

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