“I grabbed for my hat and coat, and the next minute found myself flat on my face with something weighty on top. I lay still for about five minutes when I noticed at the side of me a girl with an arch or pillar resting upon her. I tried to pull it off but couldn’t move it. Then I started working my way slowly in some direction – I think the middle – and with four other fellows we saw a hole with a light shining through. The next thing I know I was on the street, but I don’t know how I got there. I stayed around for a while and helped several others, who were apparently uninjured, out of the place. It was a frightful sight within, nothing but moans, cries and darkness.” (Retrieved December 17, 2010, http://www.weatherbook.com/knickerbocker.htm)Family members and pedstrians tried to rush in to help with no real organized rescue efforts in place. People took lanterns and moved throughout the rubble looking for loved ones and survivors. One reporter compared the scene to something out of World War 1. Once police and fire crews arrived the rescue effort saw better results. By 2:30am over 600 rescue workers were on the scene including the military. Residents in the area brought out hot food and coffee to the rescuers due to the frigid temperatures. A small boy was even sent in to distribute medicine to those still alive, under the wreckage, and in pain. A makeshift hospital was established in a nearby candy store and every hospital in the city was overloaded with patients as a result of the collapse. The rescue was not fully completed until the following afternoon and after all was said and done the final toll was 98 people dead and 133 people injured. It still goes down as one of the worst disasters and one of the largest single snow falls in Washington D.C.'s history.
http://www.herald-journal.com/archives/2004/stories/snow.html). The complete surprise of the storm was due to a lack of local forecasting. As a result of the lives lost in this snow storm covereage of weather events was expanded to 24 hours a day and local forecasting station were built to give more accurate information outside of just major cities like Chicago.
"I well remember the blizzard of 1978! I was snowbound for three days with my husband, daughter and step-son near Kansas, Ohio. My husband was ill and needed a blood transfusion. We hadn't lived there very long and had no close neighbors, so I called the local volunteer fire department. Those wonderful people who didn't know us from Adam fought their way through several drifts on our small side road to rescue us. Then they stood in the field across the road holding flares and landed a national guard helicopter that took my husband into Fostoria Hospital for blood. One of the firemen, Don Conley, insisted the kids and I go home with him. In the coming two days the Conley family and us became fast friends. Their son and friends took snow mobiles and went to a local farmer who had milk and no way to transport it. The kids said it was the best milk they ever tasted. Tom, Carol and Don have all passed on, but those of us left behind will never forget that winter. God Bless the Kansas Volunteer Fire Department, which many years later my son-in-law became a member of. My daughter ended up working with a nurse who is married to one of the guys who was on that helicopter. It truly is a small world full of wonderful people. Thank you for allowing me to share." - Jodee (Retrieved December 17, 2010, http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=7780807)If you talk with anyone that lived through that event you will quickly be able to dig up a fasicinating and sometimes adventerous story. For the Baby Boomer generation this will always be the blizzard to end all blizzards and from the sound of it, they might be right.