Cheyenne Residents Remember 1979 Thanksgiving Blizzard 40 Years Later
As we gear up for another Thanksgiving week blizzard, here's a look back at one of the biggest storms in Cheyenne history.
Two days before Thanksgiving in 1979, an arctic squall dumped over two feet of snow on the Capital City. The whiteout set records for the snowiest single day (19.8 inches on November 20th) and most total snowfall (25.6 inches) ever recorded from a single storm.
The National Weather Service in Cheyenne invited followers to share their memories of the storm on social media last year. Some of their stories are incredible.
"I was a police officer then, here in Cheyenne. They got snowcats and drivers somewhere and we responded to calls for assistance in them. Everybody worked together and helped each other. When I eventually got off work we had cornbread for Thanksgiving dinner 'cause that's all I had all the ingredients for! As terrible as the storm was, it was fun," Mary Neese recalled.
That sense of community echoed in several comments.
"We lived in Chugwater. Returned from a trip to New Mexico to travel in a convoy from Cheyenne to Chugwater to get home. I remember driving so slow the odometer bounced between 0 and 5 miles an hour all the way," Kim Graves remembered. "They used a helicopter to get food to our small grocery store to help us until the roads were open again."
Helicopters were also used to deliver hay to cattle in other rural areas around the state. The storm was memorable to Shelly Erickson for a couple of reasons
"I met my husband in a 644 loader while he was doing snow removal," she posted.
Jesse Weber doesn't remember the storm but he was there.
"I was born during this storm. Mom needed a snowcat to get in from Hillsdale to the hospital," he said.