Will Blizzard of '78 Be Repeated in 2015?

Is Connecticut in for another Blizzard of ’78?  For those old enough to remember, there has been nothing like it since.  The blizzard shut down the state of Connecticut and much of New England - roads, businesses, schools, just about everything.  The legendary storm is not only vivid in memories - it has been the subject of a documentary on Connecticut Public Television, and has its own website, Blizzardof78.org, the work of amateur historian Matt Bowling.blizzard photo The website recalls that “in Connecticut, Governor Ella Grasso was trying to drive from the Governor’s Mansion to the state storm center in downtown Hella helpartford.   She didn’t quite make it.  Forced to abandon her car and walk the remaining blocks to the state armory, Grasso was not slow in taking the storm seriously.  Thanks to (Massachusetts Governor Michael) Dukakis and Grasso, both state and National Guard troops would soon be on their way.”

Recalled former WTNH-TV newscaster Kenn Venit, “By Monday afternoon if you weren't home, you weren't going home." More than two feet blanketed the state, with drifts as much as eight times that height.

Gov. Grasso shut down the state for three days (including the interstate highways), and President Jimmy Carter declared Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts federal disaster areas, recalled The Hartford Courant in a retrospective published a year ago.   A contingent of 547 soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, flew in to help National Guard crews clean up the mess and help the region slowly re-start daily routines that had been abruptly halted.connnatgrd

Snow fell at a rate of 4 inches an hour at times during the storm, which lasted for 36 hours, according to published reports. The unusual duration of the 1978 Nor’easter was caused by a Canadian high pressure system, which forced the storm to loop east and then back toward the north. Thunder, lightning and hail was seen in the blizzard as it blanketed the Northeast with over three feet of snow, and the shoreline was battered by high tides and hurricane force winds.

Two years ago, in early February 2013, a sizable blizzard rolled into New England which threatened to usurp the Blizzard of '78's place in the recent record books.  Despite heavy, sustained snowfall,  it didn't.

 Videos from CPTV and NBC News (with reports from John Chancellor, David Brinkley, Brian Ross and Robert Hager) highlight the Blizzard of  '78 in Connecticut.




Familiar Business Logos Coming to a Highway Near You, Promoting Tourism

The logos of Taco Bell, Starbuck’s and Georgie’s Diner are among 10 business logos and 7 tourist attraction logos that will be appearing on a total of 27 state highway signs in Connecticut this year, under a state program just underway.  The highway signs, part of the state’s ongoing efforts to promote tourism, will appear on I-95, I-91, I-84, I-395 and Routes 8 and 9.

Administered by the state Department of Transportation, the 10 business logos that will be appearing on 13 signs across the state include A-1 Diner, Dunkin Donuts, Georgie’s Diner, Mobil, Starbucks, Comfort Inn, Taco Bell, Residence Inn, Guilford Suites, and Chili’s.

The seven tourist attraction logos that will appear on 14 roadway signs include the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, The Griswold Inn, the Tanger Outlet Center, The Adventure Park at Storrs, Niantic Bay Boardwalk, Sailing Ship Argia Cruises, and Antique Center (at exit 8 on I-95).  Among the attractions, four attractions will be having signs posted for the first time, with each to have a sign in each roadway direction (northbologosund and southbound, or eastbound and westbound).

The largest number of logos appearing will belong to Taco Bell, with four roadway signs, on I-395 at exit 93, I-91 at exits 16 and 47E, and Route 9 at exit 19.

According to the DOT, the Specific Information (Logo) Signing Program is intended to provide the motoring public with information on essential travel services (gas, food, lodging, camping) that are available at qualified interchanges on expressways in Connecticut.

The program allows qualified businesses to apply and erect their business sign or logos on specific information (logo) signs. Businesses must meet minimum qualification criteria specified in the regulations governing the program. There are no exceptions or waivers. A non-refundable $2,000.00 application fee per business, per interchange must accompany the application.highway sign

Installation of business signs is permitted only after field review of business and sign feasibility is conducted by the Department and certain concurrences and permits are completed or obtained.

All costs for fabrication and installation of signing by a contractor is the responsibility of the initial business on an interchange approach. Subsequent businesses are required to reimburse the initial business a percentage of the initial business’s installation cost as indicated in the regulations. Subsequent businesses are also responsible for all costs for the installation of their business signs. Businesses must continue to meet minimum qualification criteria as long as the business sign is displayed or signing will be removed.

The Connecticut Tourist Attractions Sign Program is intended to create a predictable and recognizable system to help travelers locate places of interest that will make their experience in Connecticut more Adventure Storrs logoenjoyable. Participating businesses must indicate how many potential visitors they hope to attract at various periods during the year.  Those accepted Argiainto the signage program must annually update DOT on their visitor-traffic counts and provide related information.

In another project promoting Connecticut sites and attractions for highway travelers, I-95 will soon see signs posted by DOT promoting the University of Bridgeport, Housatonic College, Barnum Museum, Webster Bank Arena, Harbor Yard Ballpark, Shoreline Star Greyhound, Connecticut Audubon Center, Silver Sands State Park, Westfield Post Mall, PEZ Visitor Center, West Haven Beaches, University of New Haven Yale Bowl.  Three of the signs are new (Yale Bowl, Silver Sands and CT Audubon); the others are replacing existing signs.