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February 3, 2008

FORECASTS | In 1978, there were no 24-hour weather news channels or weather websites and much more primitive forecasting technology. The Monday morning the storm began, some news outlets were still predicting a moderately gusty 6-inch snowstorm. An approaching storm of this magnitude would likely be top news for three or four days beforehand.

CELLPHONES | Didn't exist in 1978. Thousands of drivers stuck on Route 128 had no way to call home and let their loved ones know they were stranded or seek help.

THE INTERNET | Didn't exist for the masses in 1978. Now many of us can telecommute if a huge storm is coming.

ATMs | Only a fledgling technology in 1978. Bank closings meant thousands of people who couldn't cash their paychecks had serious problems finding cash for food. Today you can use a credit card for food, something virtually unheard of in 1978.

SUPERMARKETS | Closed Sundays and late nights in '78, including the day before the storm hit. Now you can stock up on groceries any day and night.

LUNAR LUCK | The Blizzard of '78 coincided with an unusual confluence of a new moon and the orbiting moon reaching its closest distance from earth, a "perigean spring tide" that happens only once every roughly 190 days. Statistically it could be centuries before 27 inches of snow and hurricane winds again accompany the tidal conditions of the '78 blizzard.

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