(WIVB) – On this day 45 years ago, a deadly blizzard struck Western New York and Southern Ontario. The Blizzard of ’77 stretched several days from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, and there were 23 storm-related deaths reported.
Over 100 inches of snowfall were reported in certain places.
The storm had some unusual consequences, like reindeer escaping the Buffalo Zoo.
We asked for viewers’ memories about the Blizzard of ’77, and they delivered:
Kelly Williams shared this photo from the storm, taken in the City of Tonawanda:
“I was ten,” she writes. “My dad ended up blowing the snow away from the front of the house.”
Bill Sullivan, who now lives in Florida, shared this shot with us.
He was 13 years old at the time.
Marie Armatys was 21 during the blizzard and late in her last trimester of pregnancy. Her due date was Feb. 9.
“I remember the snow began to fall gently on Jan. 28 about midday before the blizzard hit,” she said. “My husband was attempting to get home and got stuck on Delaware Avenue under the I-290 overpass for over four hours.”
There were no cell phones to keep in contact back then, and Armatys didn’t even know that her husband had been let out of work early.
“When he arrived home [to the City of Tonawanda] about the normal time he told me his story about sitting under that overpass for over four hours,” she added.
Their baby arrived on Valentine’s Day, but the storm’s aftermath made it difficult to get to their weekly obstetrician appointments.
“We even got there just days after the blizzard only to find that the office had closed due to the weather,” Armatys said of one incident.
Jenn Maldonado says she is known as a “Blizzard of ’77” baby.
“My mom was due with me the day the blizzard hit Buffalo, and she was stuck at home,” Maldonado writes. “My dad was a volunteer for the American Red Cross. He was out setting up shelters and helping people and could not make it to our house.”
Her mother called the doctors to let them know she was stranded at home, and the doctors told her to stay on bed rest.
“She started to go into labor the day they were finally able to get the necessary vehicles around,” Maldonado said. “They were able to get an ambulance to get her to the hospital and my dad was finally able to meet her at the hospital.”
Lisa H. was 5 years old and living in Newfane at the time of the blizzard.
“My dad was a truck driver who was stranded in Cleveland because he couldnt get on the Thruway to come home as it was shut down and there was no way to get into Western New York,” she said. “It was me, my mother, sister and brother at home by ourselves. My mother didnt drive so we were sort of stranded but she managed to get to the local store before the storm.”
“People joke now about getting milk and bread for a storm but that saved us,” she added.
At one point, the family’s power and heat went out, so they slept downstairs together to keep warm.
“I remember having so many layers of clothes on I could barely move!” she said. “One funny thing I remember was I had to sleep next to my sister in the living room and rolled over and punched her in the eye!”
Find more memories of the Blizzard of ’77 here.
Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.