In 1978, Rhode Island Plunged Into A Blizzard That Will Make This Year’s Winter Look Downright Mild

Feel that chill in the air, Rhode Islanders? We’ve officially entered another New England winter, and we all know they can be pretty unpredictable. However, when you’re feeling cold and a bit blue, remember that we’ve experienced far worse. If you were around in 1978, you may remember a far more devastating storm here in Rhody… a storm that will more than likely make this winter seem extremely tame. It was one of – if not THE – worst blizzards in Rhode Island history, and the details are… well, chilling.

Do you remember your coldest and most treacherous Rhode Island winter? Tell us all about it in the comments!

The OIYS Visitor Center

Blizzards in Rhode Island

December 07, 2021

What is winter in Rhode Island like?  

In a word: COLD. The average daytime temperature during winter in Rhode Island – primarily from December to February – doesn’t tend to rise above 40 degrees. It does snow here, even on the coast, and snowy weather with freezing temperatures are not at all unusual. Average annual snowfall tends to range from around 20 inches in places like Block Island and anywhere from 40 to 55 inches in other, more northernmost parts. January tends to be the coldest, snowiest month of the year. There are places throughout the state that truly love their wintertime, like Newport, which is easily one of the best little winter towns in the entire state. It sits on Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay, and every year, it transforms into something out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. It’s a well-kept secret, as it’s pretty quiet during winter (summer is by far the busiest time of year for Newport). To read more about this perfect little spot for winter in Rhode Island, check this article out 

What kind of natural disasters in Rhode Island are there?  

The state of Rhode Island is actually pretty safe, relatively speaking. Though Rhode Island does experience natural disasters from time to time, they aren’t a yearly occurrence. The most likely disasters to occur here include blizzards – still, not a yearly occurrence – and earthquakes. According to, the “earthquake index” for Rhode Island is 0.70, while the United States average sits right around 1.81. This places Rhode Island as #14 in terms of its ranking in the country for earthquakes. Flooding and high winds are another risk to living here, though again, they occur less frequently than they might in other states. Rhode Island is, by and large, an overall safe – if not super cold! – place to call home.