Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

January 26, 2008

Public servants recall battle with blizzard of ’78

(Continued)



“We sat there with a walkie-talkie and every time they had an ambulance run or a fire run, we would plow their way in and out to a main road. We done that for four or five days until things got settled down.”

Slabaugh said a lot of people in four-wheel drive vehicles, snowmobiles and National Guard trucks helped deliver medications to the sick and elderly and transport those in need to hospitals.

“After about two to three days, we tried to stop at a store or restaurant to get a sandwich, but nobody had anything. The restaurants were completely out of food. Their trucks couldn’t get through. It was really bad.”

There was so much snow, the city installed a snow blower on one of the trucks and used it downtown to get all the snow out. The blowers shot the snow into dump trucks and transported it to Foster Park.

“It took about three days before we could get the downtown half-way movable.”

The streets crews worked 16-hour days for four to five weeks before going to back to normal hours cleaning up the snow, he recalled.

“It was really unbelievable. I never saw anything like it in my life. Basically, it shut down Kokomo and the biggest part of the state for three to four days.

Howard County Sheriff Deputy Craig Trott was an Explorer for the sheriff department just starting his career when the snow began falling that evening.

“I remember a helicopter ride from the sheriff department to Howard Community Hospital delivering supplies. It was the first time I rode in a helicopter,” Trott said.

“I just remember, the state and county plowed the snow so high they couldn’t pile it up any higher,” he said. “I just remember how tall it was — towering over the cars. They brought down big snow blowers from Michigan to clear the downtown. When the big augers hit the snow banks, it threw it 150 feet. Those things really did the job.”

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