Archived Story

More about the Wyoming blizzard

Published 6:09pm Friday, December 27, 2013

To the editor:
Readers have suggested that I enlarge on my Christmas column about my experience in Cheyenne’s “Storm of the Century” in the winter of 1948-1949.
That winter in Wyoming is one I shall never forget that “blizzard of the century” paralyzed a large part of the West. Trains were stopped on impassable tracks in the middle of nowhere.
Cattle froze to death on their feet. The Air Force brought in cargo planes that patrolled the area and kicked bales of hay out for any cattle they found moving.
My job when I finally got to my usual duty station was to update the terrain maps to show roads that were open, as reported by Air Force planes also patrolling. Fort Warren (now Warren AFB) was the training base for operators of earth moving equipment, so they were all out there shoving snow off the roads.
When my friends began arriving from leave there were stories of being stranded in various places. One played the piano in a train station for hours to entertain his fellow travelers.
Another reported that his passenger train fed its passengers by unloading groceries being shipped on a freight train also stranded on the adjacent track.
The area where Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska meet was hardest hit by this storm, so there are many other people besides me with stories that they also will never forget.
As with Our Area’s 1993 winter storm, their stories are well preserved by available media.
– Garland O. Goodwin,
Columbus

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