Seasonal November 11, 2018
In 1949, Wyoming Plunged Into An Arctic Freeze That Will Make This Year’s Winter Look Downright Mild
We’re no strangers to winter here in Wyoming – it often snows and blows so much we feel like we’re in a snowglobe. But one winter truly stands out from the rest – have your parents or grandparents ever recounted memories from the brutal winter of 1949?
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1949 truly started with a bang. The weather for early January was supposed to be mild, but a quick-forming storm caught everyone by surprise.
Wind gusts topping 65 MPH swept across the state, burying cars that were on their way home.
Motorists were stuck in their cars for days. Those that happened to get stuck in town headed to taverns and hotels, where they awaited rescue.
One train got stuck on the track, stranding 8,000 passengers. Rescuers came to their aid and thawed the train with flamethrowers.
The United States Military was called in to drop supplies and assist with rescue in towns that were completely cut off from the rest of the state
Things did not get any better throughout the winter. For the next 45 days, more storms rolled in and the temperature did not climb above zero degrees until Mid-February.
Livestock suffered tremendously - they froze from exposure or died of starvation. Well a million cattle and sheep were lost.
The Air Force launched "Operation Haylift", bringing thousands of tons of hay to starving cattle. It was one beam of hope for stockmen facing tremendous loss.
The storms finally died down by March, but it wouldn't be until July that the snowdrifts all melted.
Watch this hour-long PBS documentary to see the true horror of the winter 1949. VIDEO
Do you have any stories from the Winter of 1949? Tell them in our
Wyoming Nature Lovers Facebook group, and share your best snowy photos there too.