Boomers will fight you on this, but facts are facts: this year's Christmas weekend blizzard was worse than the one in '78.

For Grand Rapids, This One Beat The Blizzard of 1978

The keywords here are FOR GRAND RAPIDS, which got a whopping dose of lake effect snow on the back side of this storm, the Blizzard of 2022 was worse than the Blizzard of 1976.

The National Weather Service posted these statistics on Monday, showing the difference between the similar storms.

Courtesy National Weather Service
Courtesy National Weather Service

Since the Blizzard of 1978 was centered over southeast Michigan and intensified as it went on, other state regions will continue to see the storm of 1978 top 2022 total but here in West Michigan, especially along the lakeshore, this storm was a bigger beast.

The weather service did add in the comments that

the ferocity of the 1978 blizzard was more of a surprise, since weather predictions days out have improved by leaps and bounds in the decades since ... The blizzard of 2022 was a monster in Ontario downwind of Lake Huron, where winds were stronger than they were here. And in Buffalo NY, they are now finding bodies in vehicles buried in snow.

There Were Big Differences Between The Storms

With heavy winds out from the north and west, this storm was followed by a bout of lake effect snows that drove the 2022 total higher. The Blizzard of 1978 was another bomb cyclone, but it came later, after the lakes had frozen over, keeping the lake effect totals down.

Mark Torregrossa, the long-time weather reporter has a pretty good take on why the storm of 1978 seemed more impactful to older folks:

I think two things make this storm not as impactful as the Blizzard of ‘78. Firstly our modeling and forecasting is 10 times better now. We warned the state about this storm a full week in advance. In 1978 the blizzard evolved. The National Weather Service just upped the forecast amounts as the actual snow eclipsed a current forecast. Secondly, the Blizzard of ‘78 covered an area from Wisconsin and Illinois to Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

That's Probably Why Boomers Refuse To Let It Go

In the comment sections of Twitter and Facebook, older people refused to believe this storm was worse than the 1978 storm. Perhaps they were just trained, like my dad, to always view their past in the worst possible light. Remember, it was the Greatest Generation that always claimed to walk 10 miles each way to school, uphill.

Some comments, and we'll keep them anonymous:

In 1978 I had a full size Ford van. I parked it in the driveway near the end in hopes I might get out in the morning. 3 nights in a row that big van got totally buried in snow. What a job digging it out the next day!!! This year's storm was nowhere near comparable. (Maybe you were weaker in 1978. Ever think of that?)

How much snow was already on the ground when the blizzard hit in 78? Seems like the snow banks were higher, leading to more drifting, etc. (I can't vouch for 1978, but we still had at least eight inches of snow from the previous weekend in 2022)

This was not even close to 78, all that hype for nothing. ( Yeah, next time we'll keep our mouth shut)

I was alive and witnessed them both! 2022, was tame. At least here in Michigan. ‘78 was incredible!!! By leaps and bounds. ("tame"? Really, you're going with "tame" to describe this?)

In Lake county, there is no way I would have called this last snow storm a “blizzard”. By your definitions it might be but in real life it was just a basic snow storm. I was out every day, never had a loss of sight. (where in the NWS graphic does it say "Lake County"? These are GR stats, you mileage obviously varied.)

As far as a blizzard goes. This past weekend was underwhelming to say the least. (And your standards for overwhelming are?)

If you were not in the lake effect area more like the great fizzle of 22, but good job getting people freaked out, especially for the people living paycheck to paycheck and racing out buying fuel, snow blowers and other equipment. (the graphic WAS for the lake effect area. Here's a question for you, next time a storm 'fizzles', can you come and shovel out my driveway? Because I moved everyone of those inches)

Grand Rapids in the Winter of 1978

A look back at what Grand Rapids looked like in the winter of 1978.


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