The last few days have certainly provided us with some weather stories.

You may have struggled to get to work, to the shops and to see relatives and friends because the severe weather stopped us from being able to use the roads and rails.

So it seemed appropriate that this week's edition of Looking Back is dedicated to your memories of when snow has caused complete and utter chaos.

Unbelievably, it was just over 40 years ago when Dorset faced a similar situation and was completely paralysed by the weather in 1978.

Back in February 1978, blizzards buried Dorset.

For a few days, Dorset was cut off from the rest of the country. Roads were closed, people were stranded, children stayed at home and the conditions were described in the papers as 'a living white hell'.

For those who remember that time, it will bring back an avalanche of memories - of snowball fights, toboggan rides, blocked roads and blissful days off school and work.

For those too young to remember, it will have a certain sense of wonderment - was Dorset really inundated with so much white stuff? And why hasn't it happened since?

The severe weather was caused by a high pressure system over Scandinavia and Greenland, which fed 'bitterly cold' air over the UK and was hard to shift. Any warm air being pushed towards Britain had to rise and travel over the stubborn cold air to make any progress.

Warm air carries more moisture than cold air, but will drop its load as it rises and cools. The battlezone where this process took place came to a grinding halt over Dorset and the South West, resulting in exceptionally heavy snowfall which lasted for up to 30 hours in places.

Saturday February 18 dawned cold and cloudy with a biting easterly wind.

Roads around Dorchester, Blandford and Shaftesbury were blocked. The following evening a repeat performance occurred, as the mild air again tried unsuccessfully to move in. The snowfall that ensued was described locally as the worst since the Arctic winter of 1963 and gave about six inches across most of the county. The A35 was blocked by jack-knifed lorries at Yellowham Hill and most roads west of Dorchester were impassable for a time.

By early evening the first crystalline flakes appeared, blowing like loose sand across the dry ground, and by mid-evening the county was fully in the grip of a howling blizzard. As midnight approached and conditions worsened even further, Dorset folk began to realise that this was no ordinary snowfall.

A family returning from London to their caravan near Blandford were forced to spend the night in their car when it ran into a drift on the Puddletown road. Thankfully they had a little food and managed to hold out until morning, when they were rescued by local farm workers and the police.

Exceptionally severe conditions prevailed across the whole of the county, which was in effect cut off from the rest of England. Between Dorchester and Weymouth, a train with about a hundred people on board became stranded when it ran into a snowdrift. It took three additional locomotives to free it, bringing to life memories of the great blizzard of March 1891 when many trains were trapped for days all across the south-west.

All over Dorset, people woke up on the Sunday to find their county transformed into 'a white living hell'. But they were the lucky ones. Hundreds more had gone out the previous evening and found themselves unable to return home at the end of the night.

The weird weather proved so fascinating for author Mark Ching that he wrote a book on the 1978 snow called The Blizzard of 78 - The Snowstorm That Buried Dorset.

In it, he told the story of how Dorset residents were affected on that Sunday by the heavy snow.

"In Broadmayne, 27 people were trapped in the pub and had to sleep in the bar," said Mark.

"On the Monday, a couple of youngsters from the village trekked out towards Dorchester and met a delivery driver and a bread van stuck in the snow and he gave them a basket of bread to take back with them. The pub then became a distribution centre for bread in the village.

"One couple went to friends for a dinner party in Sutton Poyntz near Weymouth and were stuck there for four or five days!

"There were cars stuck in drifts everywhere and people could not get off a train at Upwey station because the snow was banked up so high on each side of the track that no one could open the doors."

The police had their work cut out and were inundated with calls for assistance as well as from people asking them to get in touch with relatives to let them know they were safe.

"As far as I am aware, no one died in the blizzard, unlike 1963 when people died in their car on Osmington Hill near Weymouth. Their car got stuck and the heater kept pumping carbon monoxide into it."

Many rural locations were cut off for so long that pumping stations failed, leaving them without water as well.

By the Monday morning all roads west of Bournemouth were still impassable. A train was sent down the line with supplies for some of the outlying villages en route, but at Upwey station it was impossible to open the doors of the carriage because the snow on the platform was so deep. Throughout the day, military helicopters flew mercy missions to remote rural areas, ferrying supplies and taking those in need of treatment to hospital. Bus services and refuse collections were a non-starter and many schools remained closed. Drifts 20ft deep isolated villages in all corners of Dorset.

One local doctor determined not to let his patients down was taken on his rounds in an armoured personnel carrier from Bovington Camp.

Thanks to Mark Ching for reminding us of this exceptional winter.