Thursday

The Blizzard of '49

Growing up in the mountain states, it's strange to think that some people don't know what a real blizzard is. I looked up blizzard images and found pictures of two inches of snow. Blizzard? Not quite.

A blizzard is when it's snowing so hard that you can't see more than a few feet in front of you and the wind is blowing so hard that the snow is falling horizontally. It's serious business, being out in a storm like that and one doesn't go out in it unless it's necessary, or unless you're already out when it hits.

I drove home one time with my 3 year old daughter beside me in one of the worst blizzards we've had around here. Another time, I'd just bought a brand new car and had to drive it 20 miles home in a blizzard. Another time I was coming home and, coming down a hill, drove off the side and landed with the nose of my car buried in a ditch covered with snow.

And on it goes... but I've never seen a blizzard that was as bad as the Blizzard of '49. I remember listening to the grownups talking about it when I was a kid and I was alive at the time, but we weren't living in this part of the country at the time.

"This part of the country" means Wyoming and Colorado. The Blizzard of '49 covered Nebraska, the Dakotas and Kansas as well before blowing itself out.

Weather stories like this are fascinating and frightening. For all our bravado and our houses with central heat and runs to the store any time of day, we are still at the mercy of nature. We don't like to think about it because we like to think we are in control. We are not.

The Blizzard of '49: A Weather Lesson Forgotten

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