The Blizzard of 1949 in Nebraska: Oh the stories I was told!
Many of the old timers are gone but this story remains clear in my mind: How the Generation of the Great Depression, WW2 and specifically the NE folk who continued to survive through one of the harshest Winters in NE history...
The Ten Worst Snowstorms In World History. This photo was taken after the Great Blizzard of 1888. The Armistice Day Blizzard of 1949 which impacted Minnesota made the cut, as did the "Storm of the Century" in 1993 which blasted the east coast with 1-3 feet of snow, leaving behind some 10 foot drifts. Via: www.startribune.c...
Regarding the two pictures taken at Lee Bird Field, they were taken within a day or two of the worst blizzard to hit that area in quite awhile. The timeframe of this blizzard would have been November or early December 1949. My father (Frank T. Henley) is on the left and the gentleman on the right is Wendell Hammond who also was a weather bureau employee. My father moved the operation from 214 West 5th to the airport in Oct/Nov., 1949.
In the other photo, the vehicle shown belonged to the Nebraska National Guard and was assigned to taking my father and Mr. Hammond to the weather station because the depth of snow and accompanying snow drifts prevented driving U.S. Highway 30 (Lincoln Highway) east 3 miles to the airport. The track vehicle was called a "weasel".
The Winter of 1948/49: A Very Harsh Winter The storm referred to as "The Blizzard of 1949" started on January 1, but to truly frame the context of the storm, it is necessary to get a grasp of the weather activity of the previous few months. Farmers enjoyed a warm September and October and brought in an outstanding harvest of corn, wheat, and soybeans. But on November 18, 1948, that all changed when the first severe winter storm swept in with heavy snow, sleet, and winds of 50-70 mph.
Roads were blocked, schools were closed, snow drifted over rooftops, and cattle were stranded. Trains were forced to stop, and stranded travelers forced any available hotels into overflowing. The Weather Bureau (the precursor to the National Weather Service) called the storm, "One of the most severe blizzards of record over much of the central and northeastern parts of the state." Northeastern Nebraska received the worst of this first round of weather