90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
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

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.
Spotlight

Here & Now resident chef and cookbook author Kathy Gunst shares her list of the best cookbooks of the year.

Robin and Jeremy

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

December 17 2 Comments

Atticus Lish’s ‘Preparation For The Next Life’

The author's debut novel centers on an unlikely romance between an Iraq veteran and a Uyghur from China.

December 17 3 Comments

Diagnosing Ear Infections With Your Smartphone

The CellScope Oto is a clip-on gadget that turns a smartphone into an otoscope — the tool doctors use to check out a patient's eardrum.

December 16 Comment

‘Sacred Journeys’ Documents Religious Pilgrimages

In a new documentary series on PBS, Bruce Feiler accompanies Americans on pilgrimages to six of the world's holiest sites.

December 16 4 Comments

Jewish Cuisine — It’s Not Just Chopped Liver

Janna Gur shares some history of Jewish cuisine, as well as three recipes from her new cookbook "Jewish Soul Food."