Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wild Winter Weather of 1972

A two day snowstorm during the winter of '72 battered the Erie Public Dock and caused thousand of dollars worth of damage to Presque Isle State Park. The Times Publishing Company covered the event extensively in its newspapers, the Erie Daily Times and the Sunday Times-News.

This is one of those storms that people still remember, even though it took place more than 40 years ago, December 15-16, 1972. According to  WJET/FOX 66 meteorologist Tom Atkins, the storm dumped 9" of snow in the City of Erie and 12-18" inland, causing hazardous driving conditions, numerous automobile accidents and severe flooding to Presque Isle, the Public Dock and the Coast Guard Station.

Nine inches of snow doesn't seem like much if you grew up in Erie, PA, but wicked gusts of wind and drifting snow can quickly wreak havoc. "State police in the area advised all motorists to stay off the roads, which were considered extremely hazardous. Interstates 79 and 90 and Rt. 89 were reported to be passable 'only at times,' according to one trooper at Lawrence Park. 'We just can't keep up with the snow. You might as well paint your windshield black.'"- Erie Times-News December 17, 1972.

Driving on the highway into a snowstorm can make for a white-knuckle ride. Some of my worst memories include driving home in blinding snowstorms, staring directly into the hypnotizing effects of snow and trying to avoid looking at the headlights of oncoming cars. Or worse, trying not to panic when being passed by a semi, which would whip the snow into a giant, tornado-like cloud of whiteness. 

My grandmother often repeated a story of driving home in such a storm. My grandfather followed the tail lights of a vehicle for quite a while and wondered why the car eventually came to a complete stop. Grandpa got out to investigate and discovered that he had followed someone right into driveway of the house where they lived. That story still makes me laugh to this day.  

Enjoy more fun facts about the rain, the park and other things at: Old Time Erie

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow! I love the story of following the car right into the driveway. Too funny! I was on I-90 last night in the horrible snow and followed a truck that started to pull over to the left median. I only realized we weren't on the road from the rumble strips. It was scary! Be careful out there! -Jeremy in Erie, PA