Narragansett, Rhode Island

Providence Journal special section, February 6, 1998
The Providence Journal issued a special section on February 6, 1998, celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Blizzard of '78. The cover features a photo of vehicles stuck in the snow on Route 95.

I was a month shy of nine, and in St. Philip Elementary School in Greenville, when the blizzard hit. We had an early dismissal and were psyched. Thank God my grandmother lived with us because she was a help. My poor father got stuck in Providence when he went to pick up and drive my mother home from school (she was a teacher), only to find she had already left. He stayed with Governor Garrahy's brother and sister-in-law. For the kids, the snow was awesome! We had never seen snow so high. When the roads were plowed, the snow on the sides of the roads was well above the height of the stop signs. We walked to the grocery store in Greenville with my mother dragging a sled behind her. On Austin Avenue, one family set out a rest area. We found this hilarious. I remember seeing the cars stranded on the highway and not imagining how people could leave their vehicles. "Why don't they just keep going?" my sister and brother thought.

Fast forward to January 21, 2014, and the snow from that day. It took a long time, but I had my answer. I now live in Narragansett and work in Pawtucket. The commute is usually about an hour, but this day it was two-and-a-half. I drove at five miles an hour on 95 South for much of my drive. Most of the road had not been pre-treated, and, despite what I heard from the spokesman from DOT on my car radio, the plows were NOT out in full force. I drove from Attleboro to Narragansett, and at no time was there a plow on the southern portion of the road! At one point I saw some on 95 North in Warwick, but that was it. Route 4 had been plowed at some point and the traffic could drive at 40 miles-per-hour. Route 1 was a disaster, just like 95 South. I called family on the drive, loving that my car has Bluetooth, and told them I finally understood what it was like for drivers in the Blizzard of '78! In typical Rhode Island fashion, the DOT failed residents again. In '78 the snow was unexpected to most, but in 2014, the storm was forecasted, though not very far in advance. There is no reason for the plows and sanders not to be on top of the storm. Clearly, the State has not learned anything about snow removal and keeping residents safe, but has learned how to lie about it!

Received via email, January 25, 2014.

Wed, 02/15/2023 - 00:22