Idaho History December 30, 2018

Winter of 1948-1949

Winter of 1948-1949 Stibnite – Cascade

from “83 Miles of Hell” by Duane L. Petersen

The winter of 1948-1949 will always be talked about whenever heavy snow years and records are brought up.

This winter set records all over the country and will always be remembered by the people in this area. The road to Boise was closed for days before crews could reopen it. The railroad between Cascade and Horseshoe Bend was closed over a month from snow slides.

— Leonard Photo
These trucks in Scott Valley were on their way back from Boise loaded with supplies for the mine. This was during the winter of 1948-49 when the railroad between Horseshoe Bend and Cascade was closed because of slides. The front truck is #1, the “Dart”, driven by Skogerson and the second one is Bud Harp’s Mack Tanker.

The road to Stibnite was also closed for a time, and during this period some supplies were air dropped by National Guard planes.

This National Guard cargo plane is making an air drop of supplies during the winter of 1949 when winter storms closed the road to Stibnite for a few weeks. The airport hanger is seen in the background. On the next page, one of the cargo chutes can be seen near the ground below the plane.
— Clendenon Photos

When the crews got it open, and the trucks started hauling again, they had to haul to Boise. With the railroad still closed they hauled ore down and brought back much needed supplies. To these drivers the highway was a vacation compared to the route they were use to. They had some experiences on these trips that proved they were more use to the narrow mountain roads.

This was a time when the crews plowing this 83 miles of mountain roads to Stibnite showed their worth. They were able to get these roads open long before many roads were open around the State. The deep snow caused many problems after the storm was over and all rest of the winter.

This was the winter of the bad snow slides and the drivers all tell stories of shoveling out and through slides almost every day. The section between Yellow Pine and Stibnite was a real problem and crews were sent down to blast these slides down. The crew consisted mainly of truck driver to help Jerry Logue Sr. with the blasting. After, blasting them down the cat operator, usually Jerry Logue Sr., would clear out the road. This at times took many days and had to be done every so often all winter. In all the winters since 1948-49, that winter has the record for snow and cold.

— Leonard Photo
Seen [above] is another of the many snow slides on Eastfork Road between Sugar Creek and Yellow Pine during the winter of 1948-49. This crew blasted all the overhangs as they opened the road. Pictured on the left is Buck Newell, the “Powder Monkey” and his helpers are Barney Skogerson, a truck driver, and Jerry Logue Sr., the Caterpillar operator. The two men standing in the background were truck drivers.

When talking to many of the drivers from these years about their winter driving problem they always talk about the snow slides. The worst part of the road for slides it seems was the 18 miles from the mine to Yellow Pine. Many a time crews would go down and blast out slides and be days clearing this road for the trucks. This was a job that the drivers would help on so they could get back to hauling. There were times when the trucks would be caught in between slides and would be stuck there until the road could be reopened.

— Stillwell Photo
Jerry Logue was the operator of the cat opening the road through snow slides between Stibnite and Yellow Pine. This picture was taken in 1948 and they were 72 hours on this trip through the slides and getting all the trucks to Yellow Pine.

One such time the trucks were stuck on this section of road seventy-two hours. They all tell about Jack Williams who at the time had a carton of cigarettes under the seat of his truck. Before they finally got the road open Jack was charging fifty cents a cigarette and trying to keep enough to last for himself until they got out. It seems all the smokers of the time remember this. Jack said one driver was breaking his cigarettes in two so they would last longer. Jack said he told him the price to him was going to be a dollar each if he kept doing that. During this time the trucks were separated by different slides and were walking back and forth between trucks.

— Leonard Photo
This picture was taken in front of the Kissinger Hotel in Yellow Pine after the Cat and trucks finally got through from Stibnite. The eighteen mile trip took 72 hours. On the Cat is Jerry Logue with Jerry May (holding the sandwich and cup of coffee) and Jerry Logue Jr. is on the right.

The whole route had slide areas and some trucks were hit by them. Many times drivers would help each other shovel through a slide and shovel out a partly covered truck. When the conditions are right snow will slide without any warning and on those days it was nothing to spend long hours getting through. One slide came down on Halfway grade and hit one of the State Highway Department rotaries and turned it on its side. With the narrow road there it was a job setting it back up. There wasn’t enough room to get a plow between the bank and the rotary, so the work had to be done by hand. They used cables that were run through blocks on a big tree high on the hill above. The cables were then hooked to a Caterpillar tractor and some trucks down on the road and set back on its wheels. The two men in the rotary said it was a scary ride but it happened real slow and nobody was hurt.

One reason they had so many problems was the road in most areas was so narrow even a small slide would block it. The Yellow Pine to Stibnite Road even today has many bad slide areas. This road hasn’t changed much from the 1940’s and it’s an every day job keeping it open when the weather conditions are right. The miners of today still worry about that section of road down to Yellow Pine.

excerpted from: “83 Miles of Hell The Stibnite Ore Haul 1942 to 1952” by Duane L. Petersen
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The Great Winter of 1948 – 1949

The heavy snowfall that occurred in 1948-1949 is probably the most well known storm in Idaho history. This storm has gone down in our state’s history as the most brutal and deadly storm we’ve ever seen. The result of a particularly aggressive cold snap, the storm completely shut down the southern region of Idaho. Temperatures were constantly in the negatives. Heavy snowfall plagued the state for six weeks, resulting in massive amounts of damage. Idahoans who experienced the storm firsthand most definitely remember it, and we haven’t seen anything like it since.

source: Only in Your State
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ITD Historical Photos Winger 48-49

North Gooding, Idaho S.H. 46

Ralph Rork, William Boyer, Ioton Walters, S.H. 46 North Gooding, Idaho, Winter, 1948-1949.
source: ITD Archives
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Fairfield, Idaho

William Boyer, Ioton Walters, Fairfield, Idaho, Winter, 1949.
source: ITD Archives
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Ice Jam

Ice jam against bridge on Highway 93-A near Challis, Idaho, and near Junction of US 93 and US 93-A. (Winter 1948-1949)
source: ITD Archives

(Note: go to the source links for much larger photos)
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Worst winter of them all

Contributed by Bill Ryan

So you’re sick of winter and think the cold and snow can’t get much worse? Let me tell you about the “Great Winter” of 1948-49 that old timers still talk about.

The central figure in my story is a man named Art Hoult, who was the Idaho Highway Dept.’s maintenance supervisor for all federal and state highways from Raft River to Wyoming and from the Utah line to Montana.

The agonies experienced in trying to keep highways open during the Great Winter are described in Hoult’s professional journals, which now rest in the Idaho State University Archives as a memorial to his life as an engineer. Hoult died in 1970.

All of the federal and state roads mentioned were two lane asphalt paved highways built to standards of the 1920s and 1930s. Cell phones had not yet been developed.

Official records at the National Weather Service office in Pocatello show that virtually every week between Nov. 21, 1948 and Feb. 19, 1949 brought a massive new storm to Eastern Idaho. This is 13 consecutive weeks of snow, accompanied by high winds and sub-freezing or below zero weather.

That winter’s icy curtain rose on Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving, with 3.5 inches of snow in Pocatello, blown by winds up to 25 miles an hour. Hoult’s men, on snowplows and sanders, had little trouble clearing the roads after this storm.

But snow fell almost continually on Dec. 1, 2, 3 and 4, leaving six inches on the ground, followed by more snow and wind on the 5th. The crews were hard pressed to keep the highways open but were winning the battle when another blizzard struck on Dec. 7.

What Art Hoult’s journal calls a blizzard probably may not meet the strict definition of “blizzard.” But he wrote in terse, unemotional language. It is certain that he meant it when he wrote in Dec. 7, “Blizzard in Pocatello and other places. Trouble on Rockland Road (Idaho 37) and Aberdeen Road (Idaho 39). Mink Creek closed. U.S. Highway 30 closed between Pebble and Bancroft.”

Hoult had ordered maintenance foreman Johnny Goddard to take a rotary plow and open Mink Creek (south of Pocatello) while the American Falls crew worked in its area. But after hearing about the Highway 30 closure, Hoult wrote, “Goddard and I to trouble to open, leaving at 5:30 p.m. Worked all night. Very bad. To Lava (Hot Springs) for short rest, 3 a.m. Left Lava 7 a.m. to widen road to Soda (Springs). Left Soda at noon for Mink Creek to open road. Home 4:30 p.m. Tired.”

For the following week, men and machines worked to clear the blocked highways and to widen the one-way trenches the plows had dug to restore a semblance of traffic.

A relatively minor storm came on Monday, Dec., 20, 1948, and most of the heavily traveled roads were opened by that evening.

“Dec. 31 Fri. Blizzard. Rotary working. Good west but bad east. Call from Laird. Bad ice conditions near Blue Dome.”

This entry, noting the phone call from Bill Laird, maintenance man at Dubois, was Hoult’s final 1948 page. But it foretold one of the major highway problems of the entire winter – the ice buildup on Birch Creek forced it to flow on Idaho Highway 28 between Terreton and Salmon.

The year 1949 bounced into eastern Idaho on a massive snow storm, high winds and zero temperatures. On New Years Day, a Saturday, Hoult left for the trouble at Birch Creek at 9 a.m. He found the ice about four inches thick in the highway trench with the full flow of the creek running over the ice and blocking the road for about a half mile. Hoult noted that blasting would be required.

Records at the National Weather Service show clear skies and below freezing to sub-zero weather between New Years Day and noon, Jan. 7th in Pocatello.

New snow, blown by winds upwards of 35 miles per hour, started on the evening of the 7th and continued well into the next day, bringing the total on the ground to six inches and more blocked highways.

On Jan. 14, almost four inches of new snow fell, driven by 33 mph winds.

The next six days, the mercury hovered between 11 degrees below zero and 14 above. More snow fell on Jan. 20 and 21, raising the depth to 14 inches at the Pocatello airport. Then the wind rose again and more snow fell.

The following paragraph, in Hoult’s words, describes the battle to keep the roads open. The words in parentheses are added to clarify Hoult’s terse writing.

“Jan. 21, Fri. Report 30 closed west of American Falls. Rockland also closed. High winds and drifting snow. Visibility zero. Three trucks required to hold (open) 30 west of American Falls. (American Falls maintenance man) Rowlands called at midnight advising two (abandoned) coal trucks in center of road and can’t be moved by our big Oshkosh (heavy duty rotary plow) and (our) crews abandoned road until morning. All need rest.

Goddard called at 1 a.m. advising 30 almost closed at Tallmadge (east of Bancroft).

Rotary left Pocatello at 2 a.m. to open.”

The coal trucks were removed from the roadway the next day, then the Oshkosh became disabled with fuel pump trouble and was towed back to American Falls. This left the towns of Rockland and Roy again cut off from the world.

On Jan 23rd the school superintendent phoned from Rockland asking Hoult about opening the Roy road for the children. “Told him it would be the next move for the rotary after cleaning up west of American Falls.”

The record low temperature for Pocatello to that date was set between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 1949. It was 31.4 degrees below zero.

It only got down to minus 23 the following night. Another two and a half inches of snow fell in the next few days, raising the depth on the ground to 18 inches. Twenty foot drifts were reported in some places.

January 31st dawned with 21 inches of snow on the ground at the Pocatello airport.

Continuous snow and high winds marked the blinding storm of Feb. 4, 5, and 6. All roads in the area were closed by noon on Friday the 4th. Three heavy snowplow trucks and their drivers were marooned between Pocatello and American Falls and between Aberdeen and Blackfoot.

Hoult described the situation as the “worst in highway history.”

Caravans of travelers were stranded at Coldwater Camp, between American Falls and Raft River, with food and supplies dropped to them from planes. The week between Feb. 4 and 11 saw many eastern Idaho towns in virtual isolation with surface traffic at a standstill.

Coal supplies ran low; deliveries were made only to “folks who had run out,” says a Pocatellan who remembers that winter.

Cattlemen reported animals by the hundreds frozen or starved to death; trains were stalled on several occasions, and some food stores were hard hit when orders failed to arrive.

One snowplow operator experienced a breakdown on deserted U.S. 26 near Taber in Bingham County and was forced to walk 15 miles back to Moreland in the teeth of the storm.

Hoult’s eventual solution to get Birch Creek’s main channel off State Highway 28 was to borrow bulldozers from local contractors and use them to break through the drifts.

Crawler tractors and concrete rippers proved to be the only machines that could penetrate the thick ice.

Rotary plows were still working to widen the highway trenches through deep snow as late as March 14.

Hoult’s last journal reference to the Great Winter is his entry of April 30, which reads, “Four inches new snow and still snowing .” But that snow did not stick.

Next came the repairs to the roads which had been severely damaged by frost, water, and crawler tractors.

Never since has such a severe winter hit southern Idaho. The Idaho Transportation Department is now better prepared, with more manpower and more powerful snow removal equipment.

The Interstate highways, built since Hoult’s time, were designed to avoid deep cuts which are a natural attraction for drifting snow.

So if you hear someone beefing about the current winter, tell them about the Great Winter of 1948-49. Believe me, it was!

source: Idaho Transporter (ITD)
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Winter of 1948-49 Hits Hard In Arbon

An article that appeared in the 1999 Power County Press by Nelda Williams, added online by Hank Fitch

The winter of 1948-49 began early in November of ‘48 with sub zero temperatures and snow too dry to pack into any facsimile of a sled trail. Arbon ranchers all fed loose hay in those days by team and sled.

For three months, no water dripped from the eves of our little three roomed house. With no ceiling insulation you would ordinarily expect to see icicles hanging from the eves in the winter.

Sod, not long out of the service following World War II, was feeding cattle that winter for the J. N. Arbon family. Toward the last of January, Mr. Arbon had come from his winter home in Pocatello to see how we were getting along. I remember his remark that day, that hopefully the worst part of the winter was over.

Needless to say, we never saw him or anyone else from outside the valley again until Spring.

In early February it warmed up enough to begin to snow. For 17 days the storm never let up. Almost like clockwork, the wind would blow approximately 24 hours from the south, then switch to the west, which resulted in out traitorous west blizzards. Twenty-four hours later it would be back to the south again.

Finally on the 14th day, our mail was flown out from Pocatello and dropped in a field adjacent to the post office. Sod, who had accepted the appointment as rural mail carrier shortly after his discharge from the military, sorted the weeks accumulation of mail and delivered it to his patrons by horseback.

With still no signs of the storm abating, the drifts continued to bury us. Handling the loose hay made it difficult to feed. Using a hay knife, you were compelled to hand saw a small section at a time all the way to the ground. Below the snow line, the hay had to be pitched up on to the snow and then re-pitched on to the hay rack. You couldn’t open up a stack or it would cover over before the next day.

Sod made the decision to try to leave to feed every other day on a South wind. The cattle were some distance from the house and his hope was to get back before the wind shifted. Many times he faced a west blizzard to get home.

The horses constantly broke through the poorly packed sled trail. Sod had shoveled steps in the snow bank for the team to get out of the barn, but to get back in, they simply sat and slid. The double wings of the large barn had already covered over.

With no way to get the cream to town, we quit separating and fed the whole milk to the calves. We eventually had to keep the milk cows and some late fall calves we were feeding in the barn. Fortunately, we did have access to water inside.

Tired of shoveling into the out buildings each day, Sod finally began tunneling into them. We kept a shovel in the house by the door to dig out each morning. We had long since had to remove the storm door which opened outward. The snow finally came up over the roof on the west side of the house.

No way to get provisions, we made due with what we had. We had our milk and eggs and a winter supply of potatoes, flour, and canned goods. We supplemented our fair with an occasional snow shoe rabbit. I did look forward to a fresh green salad, come spring.

It was during the severe cold spell in January, just before the terrible storm period hit, that Sod took off on horseback one morning. He headed South to the food of Bull Canyon to deliver an accumulation of mail for Walt Frederick, who lived on up the canyon. Walt provided a large wooden structure for his mail on the main road as he only cam out of the canyon periodically to pick it up.

The road South into Oneida County was not winter-maintained so an arrangement had had been made through the postal department for periodic delivery to Walt by horseback. Sod left that morning around 10 a.m., leading a pack horse, figuring to spell the horses off in breaking trail. I was not to see him again for over 12 hours.

By dark I was becoming very concerned. No phone, no way to get word out for help, I decided I may as well start the chores while waiting out his return. The temperature was well below zero by 7 p.m. I bundled up our then five-year-old son, Barry, and headed for the barn.

As time wore on, the fear that some accident had befallen my husband continually gnawed at me. It was nearly 10 p.m. before I got around to packing water to the calves. When I turned the self-draining hydrant in the barn on, I watched in horror as water splashed onto my clothes and instantly froze. I knew that a man would never survive the night if he was laying out there somewhere injured and alone.

It wasn’t until that moment that I broke down and cried. Our little son for the first time sensed my fear and concern that something had happened to his dad. He attempted to console me with, “My dad won’t get bucked off Mom, my dad won’t get bucked off!”

Some time later, I was to hear the familiar crunch of horses’ hooves in the frozen snow. I rushed to the barn door in time to meet the pack mare as she shoved her head over the top of the Dutch door. It was an alarming sight, this black mare snow white with frost, her whiskers coated like a flocked Christmas tree.

I opened the door to let her in expecting to see something of Sod, but nothing. For the better part of an hour, I continued to wait. I was by now convinced that something terrible had indeed happened. The other horse perhaps down with a broken leg or worse, and heavens only knew what had become of my husband.

When he did finally appear, he was hazing a work team along ahead of him that belonged to Vadal Swenson. Vadal farmed in the South end of the valley and had moved to Malad for the winter. He had left the team to winter on dumped straw piles which generally serviced, but the horses had been having trouble pawing into the piles. They were hanging to a small area that they had kept trampled down. They would never have survived the storms that hit later in February. It was their refusal to leave the area and head North away from their home grounds that had cost Sod so much precious time.

From the day after Christmas in 1948 to March 22, 1949, we were snowed in at the Arbon ranch. The main road was finally dozed out in mid-March. Though still a young man, the color bleached out of Sod’s eyebrows that winter.

William Hatch Sr. (Carolynn Lusk’s dad), then our star route mail carrier out of Pocatello, made his daily trip to Arbon on the day the storms hit. He never made it back to Pocatello, but was forced to abandon his jeep at Michaud Flats. When the weather finally broke, with the help of Oliver Pocatello, he began searching for his vehicle. Using a long metal rod, he began prodding in an attempt to locate it under the snow. He proceeded to punch holes in the jeep’s aluminum top before he became aware that he had already located it.

When the storms finally gave us some slack, the Pocatello area proceeded to dig out, but we had a long wait ahead of us yet. Our only winter road maintenance equipment in those days was a road grader (patrol). Most of the ranchers in the valley had a sufficient stock of feed, but hay was airlifted to some who couldn’t get to their stacks.

I’m sure that our neighbors experienced their own difficulties through all of this. We were not the only ones struggling through this historic winter of ‘48-’49.

source:: Arbon

[h/t Patty Pickett (Idaho History 1860s to 1960s)
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Winter of 1948-49 Was Beautiful and Treacherous

By Mychel Matthews Dec 29, 2013 Magic Valley

Courtesy Photo Kelker, O.A.(Gus), “Hay Wagon Sleigh,” Twin Falls Public Library – Digital Collections
Horse-drawn wagons were used to haul feed to livestock when the snow clogged the roads. Bruce Robinson, and another man, both dressed in coats and cowboy hats, are seen standing on the back of the hay wagon in 1964. His son, Mike Robinson, holds the reins as his daughter, Holly Robinson, enjoys the ride.

Filer [Idaho] – Rex Reed still remembers the winter of 1948-49.

“It was beautiful — and treacherous,” Reed said.

Reed had graduated from Filer High School the previous spring. He turned 18 and joined the National Guard during the worst winter to hit the Magic Valley since 1886.

His family lived at 4300 North and 2100 East — known then as Reed Road.

“The snow was bad at Christmas in ’48, but the roads hadn’t blown shut yet,” Reed said.

After the New Year, temperatures dropped, making life miserable for many residents. The Times-News reported temperatures of 18 degrees below zero on Jan. 9, 1949, in Burley, Shoshone and Jerome.

Then the snow began to fall.

On Jan. 14, a paralyzing snowstorm hit the valley, followed by strong winds. Drifted snow clogged all area roads by the next morning, stranding hundreds of motorists and buses loaded with travelers.

Schoolhouses, gymnasiums, dance halls — public and private buildings alike — were used to house the stranded.

Reed said highway departments cleared what roads they could reach but left high walls of snow that quickly drifted shut behind the snowplows.

Many roads were abandoned when the snowplows no longer could pass through them, he said.

“Most of the north-south roads were blown shut, but U.S. 30 was closed a lot of the time,” Reed said.

Many farmers in Reed’s neighborhood had milk cows, but trucks couldn’t get through to pick up milk.

“The cows had to be milked, but most guys were just dumping the milk on the ground,” he said.

But not the Reed family.

The Reeds had a tall, horse-drawn hay wagon that had better ground clearance than most. Two horses could pull the wagon on dry ground, but four were needed to break through the snowdrifts.

Every day, the Reeds milked their cows, loaded 10-gallon cans of milk onto the hay wagon, then drove the horses through the snow to gather milk from a half-dozen neighbors.

The Reed hay wagon full of milk met the Sego milk truck at an intersection several miles away.

“Sego was good to us,” Reed said. “They would take the full cans and drop off empties from the day before.”

The snow and wind continued for a month.

“It got worse and worse, and the snow just kept piling up,” he said.

That winter was the “worst in highway history,” said memoirs by Art Hoult, the Idaho Highway Department maintenance supervisor for federal and state highways in eastern Idaho.

Continuous snow and high winds resulted in a blinding storm in early February 1949.

Snowplow drivers were marooned near American Falls, and caravans of travelers were stranded at Coldwater Camp near Raft River. Food and supplies were dropped to them by planes.

Many southern Idaho towns were cut off from the world as traffic came to a standstill.

Cattlemen reported animals by the hundreds frozen or starved to death. Trains were stalled on several occasions, including one that was stuck in snow west of Murtaugh.

Then the weather turned.

The Times-News warned on Feb. 16, 1949, that higher temperatures were coming, and residents should brace for flooding.

Snow melted quickly, but ice blocked the runoff’s exit and houses flooded.

“Water ran over the canal banks because the canal couldn’t carry it all,” Reed said.

A week later, headlines returned to the usual news.

“As far as the office of this county relief coordinator is concerned, the emergency caused by adverse weather conditions is over,” declared DeWitt R. Young, Twin Falls County relief coordinator.

source: Magic
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Cold, snow, wind made 1948-49 horrid

By Lynn Arave

photo courtesy: Utah Center For Climate And Weather. Huge amounts of drifting snow stranded many cars in the howling wind in the winter of 1948-49.

… Idaho too had a severe winter that season. According to a history by the Idaho Department of Transportation, every week between Nov. 21, 1948 and Feb. 19, 1949 included a massive new storm in eastern Idaho. These 13 consecutive weeks of snow were also accompanied by high winds and sub-freezing or below-zero temperatures.

Feb. 4 to Feb. 11 was probably Idaho’s worst ever winter blast. Three snowplows and their drivers were stranded between Pocatello and American Falls. Hundreds of motorists were also trapped at Coldwater Camp, between American Falls and Raft River. Food and supplies for them had to be dropped by aircraft.

Rotary plows could do little to clear the thick layer of ice from roads.

excerpted from: Deseret News Published December 27, 2008
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A Terrifying, Deadly Storm Struck Idaho In 1949 And No One Saw It Coming

by Jennifer

… Idaho’s storm of the century created a winter disaster that was just as unexpected and deadly, the most intense seen since the 1800s, and far more brutal than any other weather-related event seen since. In 1949–a mere two generations ago–an unprecedented cold snap tore through southern Idaho, virtually isolating the southern half of the state for weeks and shutting down the economy for a month. But low temperatures are only part of this chilling story.

The start of winter in 1948 was a test of endurance, but nothing could have prepared southern Idaho for the monstrous storm that would hit in the new year.

The snow began falling early this year, starting around November. But it wasn’t until after the first of the year that the weather drastically turned on the region.

As the snow began to pile up around Christmas, families invested in shovels, canned goods, chains, and rope–just in case. But roads were still open.

Then, on January 9, the Times News reported that the temperature across the Magic Valley alone plummeted to -18.

The snow started again… but this time, it didn’t stop.

The line of snowplows was constant, pushing snow off the main roads until the buildup was so great that entire cities became barricaded from one another.

Eventually, the snowfall was so great that even the plows themselves were stuck. High walls of snow blew shut behind the machines in mere minutes, while hundreds of roads were abandoned when the snowplows no longer could pass through. By the end of the month, the snowfall in the region hit a single-day record of 27 inches.

Trains were completely stalled, while food and supplies had to be dropped in by plane.

7th Army Training

Thousands of livestock caught pneumonia or were lost in the blizzard, adding up to millions in industry losses.

There are dozens of stories of ranchers having to climb down into their barns to feed snow-locked cattle, and using walls of snow to replace buried fences. Without them, the accumulation of snow allowed animals to simply climb over their barricades. But the heartbreaking losses and suffering are difficult to imagine.

An intense wind storm struck at the beginning of February, causing a blinding storm that inhibited resource and rescue efforts, however.

After over a month with irregular electricity, warmer temperatures caused the mountains of snow to begin to melt. Southern Idaho residents were warned to brace for flooding.

Thankfully, residents were warned in time to make preparations. Idahoan survival skills and community togetherness made this epic disaster far less than what it could have been.

While the “Great Winter of 1949” effectively shut down southern Idaho for over six weeks, there were fewer than a dozen casualties.

source: Only in Your State December 17, 2016
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Remembering The Frigid Winter of 1948-49

Footage from the snowy and extremely cold winter of 1948-49, courtesy of the Twin Falls Historical Society. Video copyright Times-News.

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More Idaho Winter Photos

Cascade – Stibnite Road

c. 1940s (?) Vehicle identified as a ’37 Ford

Winter scene – Car on snowy Cascade-Stibnite road. Fig.6

source: ITD Archives
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c. 1951

(location, photographer unknown)