The Blizzard of 1967

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The winter of 1967 started out like any other in Michigan. Children and adults alike brought their snow gear out of storage and prepared to salt the sidewalks. Driving was a bit more treacherous, but Michiganders were used to this inconvenience — after all, it’s not the winter season in Michigan without a few cold-weather annoyances. But nothing could have prepared the people of Michigan for the storm that loomed on the horizon, waiting to take its deadly toll on the Great Lakes State.

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Michigan has cold winters. Very cold and most years the cold in accompanied with lots of snow. The winter of 1967 was a record in Michigan as far as snowfall.

The 1967 blizzard caught many Michigan residents off guard. In several locations, the temperatures were in the 50s and 60s, and then a couple of days later on Jan. 26 and 27, the blizzard dumped lots of really heavy snow in a relatively short period. 28 inches of snow fell in the Battle Creek area in 2 days!

Here’s the snowfall totals measured in some of Michigan’s cities after the 1967 storm:

Kalamazoo … 30 inches

Battle Creek … 28.6 inches

Lansing … 24 inches

Saginaw … 23.8 inches

Flint … 22.7 inches

Grand Rapids … 18 inches

Jackson … 16 inches

Muskegon … 11 inches

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The death toll from the Jan. 26-27 blizzard in Michigan reached 22. According to wire reports, most of the deaths were caused by heart attacks. In many of those cases, the heart attacks stemmed from trying to push stuck vehicles or by shoveling the heavy snow.

However, traffic fatalities were relatively low with only three reported deaths during the storm.

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The 1967 blizzard caused difficulties with many everyday items, including the pickup of milk. Many farmers had to dump their milk, because the Michigan Milk Producers Association was unable to pick up the milk from the farmers, according to a story in the Jan. 29, 1967 Jackson Citizen Patriot.

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For us kids it was heaven! No school and endless adventures in the snow. We built forts in the snow and even tunneled deep into the snow with our fort making.

For the adults it was a terrible thing. I remember that dad could not go to work as his car was buried in the ditch.  I also remember people being driven to hospitals on snow mobiles as driving a car was impossible.  The snow drifted up on our house completely covering the back of the house!

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Dad bought a snow blower in 1968. However snowfall in 1968 was light. It snowed a bit more in 1969 but not much. And in 1970 we packed it all in and moved to Florida.  So we never got to use the snow blower! However dad packed the snow blower in the moving van and took it with us on the move.  I never understood this as a snow blower is about as useful as tits on a bull in Florida! I guess he thought he could sell it here in Florida for reasons I never quite understood. Some of my friends in Florida had never seen a snow blower.  It was very interesting to them.  However the motor came in handy in making a go cart after the move to Florida. So to me the snow blower that became a go cart was a beautiful thing!

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