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Lee remembers the Blizzard of 1978

3:57 PM, Jan 25, 2008   |    comments
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I thought I had made a big mistake. This was my first winter in West Michigan and, like many living here, I was not fond of winter but had learned to live with it. The year before, while I was working in Flint, the state was hit with a big ice storm. Thousands and thousands of people were without power - the city was shutdown. When I packed up and moved here later that year, I was ready for a quiet winter. That was not to be. In 1978, I was the weekend anchor here at WZZM. I remember it was a "pretty" snow that started to fall as I drove to work. Little did I know when I parked my car in the station parking lot that 24 hours later, it would be buried completely in snow. By the end of the first night, none of us at the station was going anywhere. Nobody was coming in, either. The next day, one employee at the station had an old Ford Bronco and he went up and down 28th Street picking up employees who managed somehow to find their way to him by either walking or by snowmobile. When we finally dug out our cars days later, my wouldn't start. The engine compartment was completely packed with snow and it had to be towed to sit inside a garage to thaw out. Now back in 1978, we did not have all the sophisticated weather gathering tools and graphics. In fact, the weather guys used a map and drew on it with magic markers. We had little warning as to what was coming. In fact, we weren't prepared for snow coverage at all. In one case, we managed to get a photographer out to former 13 reporter and anchor Barry Shanley, who was stranded at his house. He and his photographer turned in one of our best stories by just basically walking around the city observing what he saw. A year later, 1979 was another bad winter. I decided I had enough and started looking for a new job. The first offer I got was for Buffalo, New York!!!! I declined and decided to stay...and either the winters got much less severe or maybe I just got used to it. In any case, everything else seemed to work out okay.

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