Comparing January '14 to the Blizzard of '78 - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Comparing January '14 to the Blizzard of '78

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TOLEDO, Ohio -

A lot can get lost in the mix when comparing big snow or blizzards.  The technology of plowing, salting, measuring and dealing with snow has all changed since the famous blizzard of 1978.  That storm is THE benchmark most Ohioans measure winter weather against. 

The surface map setup from January 25-27, 1978  matches the setup from January 5-7, 2014 in many aspects.  There was a Great Lakes Clipper-type low pressure center with plenty of cold air ready behind it.  There was also a Texas/Ozarks-based low that carried Gulf moisture and wind.  Once the two phased together (in both storms) right over Ohio, the storm rapidly intensified.  The jet stream and mid-level energy also led to rapid pressure drops. 

Both storms dumped roughly 13 inches of snow in parts of Toledo.  We know everyone got different totals from the official number, but the pre-drift amounts were very similar. 

The big differences were the pressure drop in '78 and the length of time before the storm cleared.  The 1978 storm "bombed out" near Cleveland.  That means the barometric pressure fell MUCH faster than a typical strengthening storm.  The reading of 28.28" in Cleveland was the lowest in Ohio history!  The storm also stayed on top of the area for several days and delivered near-hurricane force winds. 

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