THE BLIZZARD by Robert Bahr


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For 54 straight days in the winter of 1977, temperatures in Buffalo stayed below freezing; the city was declared a disaster area by President Carter, and even called off its Winter Carnival. Robert Bahr gives an account of that ordeal that perhaps only a Buffalonian will appreciate--a storm of local facts about plowing, heating, transportation, food, medical care, schools, crime, etc., etc., that's impressive but seldom consumingly interesting. Snowfighting equipment broke down early from overuse, as did tow trucks hauling stalled or abandoned cars--which made plowing impossible. Neighborhood grocers were charging $2.50 for a half-gallon of milk; it cost $50 to have a driveway plowed; some hotels doubled their prices. (Even the abortion rate went up 45 percent.) The total economic loss: over $221 million, The Red Cross and Salvation Army distributed food and clothing; still there were 18 storm-related deaths. Somewhat more absorbing, actually, is Bahr's ongoing weather report, describing the sources of the storm and its various effects--the Florida citrus crop failed, for one thing, and some farsighted Pennsylvania meteorologists made a minor fortune investing in frozen orange juice futures. Bahr's off-and-on you-are-there approach roves through many eyewitness accounts by firefighters, bar patrons, stranded drivers, grocers, isolated families, looters, accident victims--even some witnesses to public sex. For the record, then, with a few plums but little raw power.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1980
ISBN: 0595152945
Publisher: Prentice-Hall