Southern Snow: Atlanta’s Blizzard of ’78?January 29th, 2014 at 11:06 am by T.J. Del Santo under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog
A truly unbelievable situation continues to unfold in the South, and the pictures may look eerily familiar to Southern New Englanders.
Atlanta got 2-4″ of snow on Tuesday, and the pictures coming out of the city look like pictures from the Blizzard of ’78 here in Southern New England. In February of 1978, those who couldn’t get home, slept in local businesses. Some were stranded there for days! People of Atlanta were forced to do the same Tuesday night.
Thousands of motorists were stranded on Rhode Island and Massachusetts highways while 2-3feet of snow fell across the region from February 6-7 in 1978. Once people saw how badly the snow was getting 36 years ago, they jammed the highways, which quickly became impassable. This led to a gridlock which took days to unsnarl.
In Atlanta, a similar scene unfolded, but because of much less snow and ice. On Tuesday, the combination of thousands leaving work early, schools being dismissed and roads being slick helped create a very similar scenario to what happened in Southern New England back in ’78….except with much less snow. Two to four inches fell on ‘Hotlanta’, and that 4″ report was from a high elevation.
Here in Southern New England, we are obviously more accustomed to dealing with snow. We have an army of trucks to treat and plow the roads. We have early dismissal schedules. We know how to drive in the snow (most of us) better than people in the south.
The same storm system that hit the Deep South also hit Southern New England early on Wednesday. We expected it. The forecasts were right on. Our snow totals ranged from a coating in the northern part of Rhode Island, 2″ at the RI coast and 3″ at the Massachusetts coast.
Further to the east, even more fell. There was one band of moderate to heavy snow which was stationary from Block Island to the south coast of Massachusetts. This band brough snowfall rates of 1-1.5″ per hour to this area.
I received one unconfirmed report of 4-5″ on Block Island. Meanwhile, over the Cape and Islands, 3-7″ of snow fell. Imagine if that kind of snow fell on Atlanta!
Hopefully everyone in Atlanta makes it through this storm okay.
-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo