One of the major problems with the Blizzard of 1978 was that it was not widely forecasted. In areas where the storm had been well reported in advance, some people chose to ignore the reports, since New England meteorologists were notoriously inaccurate with many of their reports regarding snow storms. Because of this, people did not have enough time or will to prepare properly for the blizzard.
Many people were stranded in their cars along roads and highways throughout the New England region. Several people perished on Route 128 as snow piled high enough to prevent the exhaust from escaping from their running, idle vehicles. Over 3,500 cars were found abandoned and buried in the middle of roads during the clean-up effort. This figure does not include the countless other vehicles buried in driveways, on the sides of streets, and in parking lots.
While many people had been caught in the storm while driving, most others were trapped in their homes or offices with snow drifts of up to 15 feet in some places blocking the exits. In many cases, those who had become ill or had been injured during the storm had to be taken to hospitals via snowmobile. Other people were able to leave their homes and travel for assistance via cross-country skis and sleds. One unofficial report stated that 4% of the students, staff, and faculty at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island has incurred some sort of injury requiring medical attention as a result of the blizzard.
There was also the issue of flooding along coastal areas. The fierce winds from the storm combined with the precipitation forced the water up over the land along the Atlantic, Long Island Sound, Cape Cod Bay, and other bodies of water.
Personal note: At the time, I was 7 years old, almost about to turn 8. The Blizzard hit New York City with as much snow as New England, but I don't recall it being a problem. What I recall was how delighted my brothers and I were to have so much snow to play in. We built huge snow forts and threw lots of snowballs. I think school was cancelled for the whole week. Yay!