The first day of 1949 started sunny and warm.

In a radio broadcast in the early part of the day, Wyomingites were told the next day there would be "a possibility of snow flurries in the mountains."

Instead, at around 4 pm on January 2, 1949 lightning, wind and snow arrived in the southeastern part of Wyoming.

Brutal snow and wind along with sub-zero temperatures hit the state and stayed for four days.

Travelers were stranded on the sides of roads, trains were stalled and there were 20 and 30-foot drifts everywhere.

17 people died along with thousands of cattle and sheep that couldn't get through the snow to eat...and whose ranchers were unable to reach them with hay.

In true Wyoming style, the entire state worked together to battle the effects of this storm.

Supplies (including massive bales of hay) were parachuted or dropped in, and at one point a group of 60 men shoveled for 30 miles at a rate of one mile an hour to get supplies to a stranded town.

Children that were stranded at school in town were welcomed into homes, once drivers could get on the roads they would rescue travels that had been stranded in their cars for three days and give them a place to stay.

The impact of the storm lasted for over 2 months, with nonstop wind and cold temperatures continuing to create massive drifts across the state.

I admit that at first, I planned to just skim through this documentary about the storm created by Wyoming PBS, but within minutes of beginning it, I was captivated.

I even cried when I heard the story of a Douglas family of 4 that was found dead in the snow, the mother and father frozen while trying to protect their children...

If you have a few moments over this holiday weekend, I highly recommend watching this beautifully done film.


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Wyoming At The Turn Of The Century Through The Eyes Of Lora Webb Nichols

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