On Friday, January 28, Watertown began to get buried in the Blizzard of 1977 and zero visibility was reported with wind gusting to over 50 miles per hour. A cold front, the unfrozen Lake Ontario, and favorable atmospheric conditions produced a severe lake effect. Snow totals were in the range of 66 inches in Watertown, 72.5 inches in Mannsville, and 93 inches in Fort Drum, and more than 100 inches in areas southeast of Watertown. The snow, along with the winds, resulted in drifts of over 15-30 feet and the stranding of almost two thousand motorists in the region.

Local radio station DJ's were stranded at WOTT but stayed on the air to comfort and distribute information to listeners.

After a short slowdown the storm restarted on the morning of Saturday, January 29. The snow stopped around Tuesday after periods of starting and stopping as well as zero visibility.

During the blizzard buildings had collapsed, farms had to dump their milk, and five deaths were recorded from hearts attacks while trying to shovel snow. High floods from the large amounts of snow were also a concern.

{from Marc's History of Jefferson County}

NOTE - this needs at least one photo.

Disasters and Catastrophes

  • blizzard_of_1977.txt
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