Pittsburgh February 06, 2017
A Terrifying, Deadly Storm Struck Pittsburgh In 1950… And No One Saw It Coming
Pittsburghers don’t usually get too perturbed by snow. Sure, the calling for a few inches might mean rushing to the store to stock up on the essentials, but we usually take it in stride. Now, blizzards are a whole different story. One blizzard – the Thanksgiving storm of 1950 – still holds the record for the most snowfall in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburghers expected a white Thanksgiving in 1950 with meteorologists calling for up to a foot of snow over the holiday. But, everyone was in for a big surprise.
The snow began to fall on November 24, 1950 and continued for the next 48 hours, dumping so much snow on Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas that Pittsburghers began referring to the storm as "The Big Snow."
The total snowfall count for The Big Snow came in at 27.5 inches in Pittsburgh with some outlying areas reporting receiving up to 40 inches of snow.
Approximately 50 people died during The Big Snow, which caused upwards of one million dollars in damages and lost wages.
Pittsburghers came together, helping to dig out their communities while Sherman trucks saved the day by towing snowbound vehicles. Neighbors made the trek to local mom-and-pop shops, since the owners typically lived above their stores, to buy the essentials.
Today, Pittsburghers who experienced The Big Snow of Thanksgiving 1950 still reminisce about it. The snowstorm continues to hold the top spot in the record books for the most snowfall in Pittsburgh with the second largest snow fall - 25.5 inches - dating back to December 1890.
Click play below to view footage of the Big Snow of Thanksgiving 1950 from nearby New Castle. The video was published on
YouTube by the Lawrence County Historical Society.
Pittsburgh boasts a fascinating history – from the Thanksgiving storm of 1950 to the
Donora Smog Tragedy – that Pittsburghers certainly will never forget.
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