Blizzard of '78: The guy who got WZZM 13 to work

11:50 PM, Jan 26, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- During the "Blizzard of 1978," much of West Michigan was shut down because of the heavy snow fall, strong winds and cold temperatures.

The storm started on January 25, 1978, but the record-setting day was January 26, when 16.1" of snow fell in Grand Rapids in a 24-hour period.  Other local cities also had record snowfall.

Few people were able to drive to or from work because of the storm, but one man was able to get WZZM 13 personnel to the station to report on the historic weather.

Dan Vandermyde was an announcer, photographer and anchor of WZZM 13's news segments during Good Morning America.  He also owned a Chevrolet Blazer with four-wheel drive -- which was not as common a feature to have on a vehicle in the late 1970s as it is today.

Vandermyde told WZZM 13 employees he would make runs picking them up -- if they could get to 28th Street.  Vandermyde ran shuttle runs along 28th to get the employees.

For anchor Lee Van Ameyde, the blizzard came in his first winter at WZZM 13.  He lived in an apartment complex in Kentwood. Van Ameyde was able to get a ride to the 28th Street pick-up point.

"So Lee comes in on a snowmobile," Vandermyde remembers. "He had icicles hanging from his nose."

"I had never been on a snowmobile at the time and I was young," Van Ameyde says. "I definitely was not dressed for the weather."

Vandermyde left WZZM 13 in 1979.  He now works in advertising at Meijer.

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