On this date in 1977, an epic snowstorm
struck Buffalo, N.Y. By the time it ended four days later, the storm
had claimed 29 lives and caused $300 million in damage. This became the first time that the aftermath of a blizzard
was ruled a federal disaster. The official accumulation was only 12 in but the high and sustained winds
blew all the snow off frozen Lake Erie nearly burying downtown Buffalo. The intense cold temperatures
added to the misery. At the city zoo, 8-foot snow drifts allowed reindeer to step over their fence and wander freely around town.