PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, February 8, 2013

Blizzard Of ’78 Haunts Mass. Towns As They Prep For Storm

photo

Thirty-five years ago this month, the east coast was hit by the blizzard of ’78. In Massachusetts, the storm was responsible for 79 deaths and more than $500 million in damage, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The south shore towns of Hull and Scituate were among the worst-hit areas. The then-44-year-old Governor Michael Dukakis described the devastation on local television this way:

“To see those houses piled like doll houses on their side, to see houses just tipped into the ocean in Hull and Scituate,  to see an area in Scituate, North Scituate that I spent weeks in during the summer when I was three or four, looking like a pile of kindling, was almost unbelievable.”

The town of Scituate, Mass. is once again preparing for a monster storm.

Scituate Harbormaster Mark Patterson says commercial fisherman have had time to prepare for the storm, because it was well-forecasted.

“They’ve gone out and double-checked their lines and added some extra gear,” Patterson said. “They’re either pulling their [lobster] traps in or taking them out to deeper water, just trying to keep them out of harm’s way.”

Blizzard of ’78

Patterson was about 13 years old when the blizzard of ’78 struck, but he remembers it well. His family was evacuated from his house, which was completely underwater. They ended up moving after the storm.

Hundreds of homes were destroyed. A 5-year-old girl, Amy Lanzikos, was ripped from her mother’s arms when a rescue boat capsized, and a neighbor, Edward Hart, also drowned in the incident.

“It was a tragedy,” Patterson said.

Patterson says he hopes to avoid that kind of loss of life this time around. He says many people have already evacuated and boarded up their homes. But he acknowledges that there is only so much you can do to protect yourself from Mother Nature.

“This is part of life in New England,” Patterson said. “I guess in California, they have earthquakes and in other areas they have tornadoes and here we get nor’easters.”

Guest:

  • Mark Patterson, harbormaster in Scituate, Mass.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

June 6 Comment

Introducing A New Here & Now Website

Coming June 9, 2016, Here & Now listeners and visitors will experience our stories and journalism online in a whole new way.

June 3 Comment

Teenagers Create Impromptu Exhibit At San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art

As the pair toured the museum, they wondered if they could do better. So 16-year-old Kevin Nguyen decided to get creative.

June 3 3 Comments

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Author Explores Conformity, Mental Health In New Teen Novel

Matthew Quick published his fourth young adult book, "Every Exquisite Thing," this week.

June 2 13 Comments

Do Meal Kits Provide Great Taste Along With Convenience?

Resident chef Kathy Gunst tested a multitude of meal kits, and gives co-host Jeremy Hobson the inside scoop.