The Biggest Blizzard in the History of Ohio That Shut Down the State


Ohio was hit by the worst blizzard in its history on January 26, 1978. The storm brought record low temperatures, severe winds, and a lot of snow to the state. It was a component of a bigger weather system that also devastated the Northeast and the Midwest. For several days, the blizzard crippled Ohio, resulting in extensive destruction, blackouts, and fatalities.

The Storm

A low-pressure system that formed over the Gulf of Mexico and traveled northeastward, increasing as it came into contact with cold air from Canada, was the source of the snowstorm. On January 25, the storm made landfall in Ohio in the evening, and it dumped snow into the early hours of January 27. There was anywhere from 7 to 40 inches of snowfall, and drifts as high as 25 feet. With wind gusts as high as 100 mph, there was a whiteout and -60 degree wind chill. In addition, the storm produced lightning and thunder, which is uncommon in the winter.

The Impact

The state of Ohio and its citizens were severely affected by the blizzard. All major roadways, airports, schools, and businesses were closed due to the storm. Without access to food, water, or medical care, a large number of individuals were left stuck in their cars, houses, or shelters. Over a million people had significant power outages as a result of the storm. In addition, automobiles, crops, livestock, and structures were damaged by the storm. In Ohio, the blizzard claimed 51 lives, primarily from heart attacks, hypothermia, and accidents. Along with hundreds of injuries, the storm is believed to have cost $210 million in damages.

The Response

The local, state, and federal authorities reacted in force to the blizzard. In order to help with rescue and recovery efforts, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the National Guard were called into action by Governor James Rhodes, who also issued a state of emergency. Additionally, federal aid and resources were given to the state by President Jimmy Carter after he proclaimed a federal disaster area. The storm victims received food, drink, blankets, and shelter from the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other relief organizations. The impacted areas’ electricity and service were restored by the utility companies working nonstop. The people assisted each other through the storm with acts of bravery and kindness that were also inspired by the storm.


The epic 1978 blizzard put Ohio and its people’s fortitude and character to the test. The storm was a natural disaster that left the state facing previously unheard-of difficulties and hardships. But the storm also brought out the best in people, who in the midst of hardship displayed bravery, kindness, and teamwork. The 1978 blizzard serves as a reminder of both the strength of human nature and the force of the natural world.

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