Alaska January 21, 2020
57 Years Ago, Alaska Was Hit With The Worst Blizzard In State History
The worst blizzard in Alaska took place in one of the snowiest spots on the planet, Thompson Pass, outside of Valdez, Alaska. In 1963, a blizzard dropping six and a half feet filled mile 47 of the Richardson Highway during one of the largest snowfalls ever recorded on the planet — not surprising for an area that breaks snowfall records regularly!
Thompson Pass was named in 1899 and used by Klondike Gold Rush miners.
The pass became more and more defined over the years until automobiles were able to drive the trail in 1913. In 1950, an intrepid freight company foreman plowed the Richardson Highway, proving that this road could be kept open all through the winter.
This pass and the surrounding areas are well known for their incredible snowfalls.
At 2,600 feet high in the Chugach Mountain range, the average seasonal snowfall is more than 500 inches. In fact, Thompson Pass's snowiest season saw an incredible 974 inches of snow!
In 1963, the world record snowfall of 78" was recorded right outside of Thompson Pass.
On February 7th, 1963, more than six and a half feet of snow fell around mile 47 of the Richardson Highway. This beats out previous records held in Colorado and New York.
A lone foreman, Ralph Lane, was stationed out on mile 47 at an Alaska Highway Department camp.
He said that the snowflakes that fell were the size of silver dollars, and was even temporarily stuck in his snowplow during the storm.
This camp is approximately 21 miles north of the snowy Thompson Pass, and well known for freak weather occurrences.
This event would make it the world record for most snowfall in a single day. There is conflicting opinion, as the surrounding areas didn't get as much snow, so many people doubt the truth of this recording.
Many meteorologists state however that there is enough circumstantial evidence to believe this recording to be true.
Whether this was a true world breaking record or not, it still stands as one of the most impressive blizzards that Alaska has ever recorded. Not surprisingly, the nearest town of Valdez is the snowiest sea-level town in the world, with an average of 320" of snow each season.
If you're in need of some snow this season, be sure to head out to Thompson Pass or Valdez to play this winter.
Thompson Pass will continue to astound those who love large snowfalls. Keep your eyes peeled for bigger, larger storms in the future, where you can expect to see more world records broken!
Do you remember hearing about the worst blizzard in Alaska? Have you experienced some pretty great snowfalls where you live? Let us know in the comments below!
If you want to read more about Thompson Pass and its record-breaking snowfalls, read more about how
It’s Impossible To Forget The Year Alaska Saw Its Single Largest Snowfall Ever!
Address: Alaska, USA