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The Great Blizzard of 1978 – The Storm That Paralyzed Evansville Henderson and Owensboro


Snow is nothing new in the Tri-State.  But in 1978, we got a lot more than we bargained for – a blizzard that crippled the entire Midwest region.  

The worst snowstorm on record for Indiana started in January.  By the 17th, 16 inches of snow had already fallen.  By the 25th, you could still find 7 inches of snow on the ground.

On the morning of the 25th, meteorologists issued a ‘heavy snow warning’, predicting another snowfall was on the way that night.  By 3:45 pm that afternoon, their predictions had been upgraded to a blizzard warning.  By early evening the winds started to pick up, causing whiteout conditions.  By 11pm, another 4 inches of snow was added to the existing snow pack.  And the worst was yet to come.

Winds gusting up to 51 miles per hour pushed the 11-inch snowfall into 8-foot drifts that closed roads, trapping drivers on the roads and employees at businesses.  The governor declared a snow emergency for the entire state as the Blizzard of 1978 held its grip on the Tri-State for 24 hours.

In the wake of the Blizzard of 1978, businesses shut down for 2 days.  Road crews worked for a week to clear the ice and snow off the roads.

But ask anyone over the age of 40 what they remember about the Great Blizzard of 1978 and they’ll most likely tell you they remember being out of school for a week!

Newscast from the week of the Great Blizzard of ’78


Archive footage from 2008 broadcast on the 30th anniversary of the Great Blizzard of ’78

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