West Virginia February 10, 2020
70 Years Ago, West Virginia Was Hit With The Worst Blizzard In History
November 24, 1950. Harry S. Truman was President. It was Black Friday. Over 150 million Americans were enjoying leftover turkey and pumpkin pie, and more than 2 million of them were from West Virginia, making us the 29th largest state by population.
And in the atmosphere far above the eastern US, a storm was brewing.
It was a storm that would last nearly a week, and it would go down in history as one of the worst blizzards to ever strike our region. It even has its own name: the Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950.
Twenty-two states were affected, but West Virginia bore the brunt of the storm's force. Of the 353 people who died as a result of the blizzard, nearly half were in West Virginia.
The storm set several Mountain State records that still hold today.
The official greatest snow depth across the whole storm was measured in Pickens and totaled 57 inches. That still represents the greatest single storm snow accumulation ever recorded in West Virginia. Still other sites report even greater local totals: Coburn Creek measured an astounding 62-63 inches of snow from the storm. Across the board, November of 1950 still stands as the snowiest month on West Virginia record.
To this day, the "Thanksgiving Snow" is the largest snowstorm central Appalachia has ever experienced.
This is a photo of the Great Appalachian Snowstorm of 1950 in Ohio. West Virginia's snow totals were often more than double that of her northern neighbors.
The impact of the storm reverberated throughout the southeastern states for years.
In addition to the hundreds of lives lost, the Category 5 storm caused $66.7 million in damages. That's equivalent to $730 million in 2020.
The storm's influence could also be felt in smaller ways, as seen by this advertisement released in February of 1951, three months after the event.
Many locals can still vividly recall the snow of 1950, or they've heard about it firsthand from parents and grandparents. It's not the sort of thing one ever forgets.
Did you survive the Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950? Where were you living? What do you remember about it? We would be honored for you to share your experience with us.
Address: Pickens, WV 26288, USA