The Five Worst Winter Storms in Wyoming History
It's already been a cold, snowy winter here in the Cowboy State and we're just getting started. As Wyoming residents bundle up and brace for frigid temperatures in the coming months, here's a look back at five of the worst winter storms in the state's history.
1. The Siberian Express of 1933 - Still in the grips of the Great Depression, conditions went from bad to worse for Wyoming farmers and ranchers in February of 1933.
The storm began in Russia and by the time it swept across the western United States, temperatures plummeted to -66 in Yellowstone National Park on February 9th. To this day, it remains the coldest temperature ever recorded in Wyoming. Over 60 deaths were attributed to the storm nationwide.
2. The Storm of the Century in 1949 - On January 2, 1949, Wyoming residents were rocked by a winter storm that many remember as the "storm of the century". 65 mile per hour wind gusts swept across the state burying cars and homes under 10 feet tall snowdrifts while temperatures reached below -10.
More storms would follow in the next two months, forcing the federal government to begin rescue and relief missions across the region. By March, 12 deaths had been attributed to the weather, with the death toll reaching into the 70's across Colorado, Nebraska and the Dakotas.
3. The Blizzard of 1955 - In April of 1955, the spring snowstorm settled over central and northern Wyoming. By the time it subsided, nearly three days later, nearly 4 feet of snow had fallen in Sheridan. It still holds the mark for the most snowfall ever recorded during a single storm in Wyoming.
4. The Worst Winter in the West - Widely considered to be one of the harshest winters on record, 1887 is best known for the devastating effect it had on the cattle industry in the western United States.
It was a perfect storm that had began earlier in the decade, when ranchers had overstocked cattle on ranges across Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas. On January 8, a blizzard swept nearly two feet of snow across the region. To make matters worse, the storm came on the heels of a warm front, causing the ground to freeze and cattle to starve. It's estimated that nearly 500,000 head of cattle were lost to the freeze throughout the Rocky Mountains and Midwest.
5. The Winter of 1979 - It had already been a wild winter when an arctic cold front moved across the state on New Year's Day in '79. Temperatures in Jackson dropped to nearly -60 during that weekend, causing power outages and busted pipes across the region. Unfortunately, the cold weather wasn't going anywhere. Many parts of the Cowboy State endured freezing temperatures throughout the month of January.