Winter has officially hit the ‘Burg, with all of us bracing for negative temperatures and potential snowfall. While it’s been a bit since we’ve broken any records for snowfall, I’m sure many of you remember the epic Blizzard of ‘79.
A Galesburg Post article from January 18, 1979 detailed the conditions of the record 26-inch snowfall. “The city was nearly a ghost town Saturday and most stores either didn’t open at all or closed after an hour or so.” Neither the Post or the Register-Mail were able to get papers to residents, which left most Galesburgers turning to the radio for updates on the storm. “The area’s two radio stations seemed to be the only facilities functioning normally and they were of great value in calming the nerves and telling what was and wasn’t going on.”
While the slippery roads and frigid conditions were a problem for all, some residents had to deal with more — the weight and depth of the snow proved to be too much for some roofs, causing damage all over the county. Across the state, highways and interstates were barely open to traffic; the I-74 and I-80 ramps were closed and many truckers had to be put up in local hotels to wait out the storm.
By Monday, most businesses were able to open and streets were cleared, though some country roads remained closed from the drifted snow. The total snowfall, according to the Galesburg Water Department, reached more than 13 inches, with 13 inches already on the ground from previous snowfall.
While we don’t have a storm quite this large in the forecast for this year, Mother Nature is known to bring surprises. Fingers crossed 2022 doesn’t bring a repeat of 1979!