Remembering the blizzard of 1949

Mark DeLap
Posted 9/19/22

1949 Wyoming blizzard - one for the record books

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Remembering the blizzard of 1949


WHEATLAND - The Platte County Historical Society will host a program featuring local rancher Jack Finnerty who will speak about the Blizzard of 1949.   

The program will begin at 7 p.m. at the Platte County Library Tuesday, Sept. 27, and is open to all.

Jack is a longtime member of the Platte County Historical Society, and a Wyoming native.  He has served on the Tri-State and Wyoming Rural Electric Association board of directors for more than 40 years.  

In 2018 Jack was awarded the Craig Thomas Cooperative Service Award for his work with the Halters, heroes and Horses program, and in 2019 was elected to the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame.  He will focus on growing up at the M Bar Ranch at Slater, and how his family was affected by the Blizzard of the Century, including how he got whooped by his mom for disappearing on the day of the storm only to be discovered at the movie theater.

According to an article by Rebecca Hein from, the blizzard started Sunday, Jan. 2, 1949, and proved the worst of the century. The first storm would be followed by two more months of snow and bitter cold. The National Weather Service eventually reported 12 people dead in Wyoming after the first storm. Twenty-eight more died in western South Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska. On March 1, after the federal government had completed rescue operations, the official death toll for the whole region was 76. Unofficial estimates are somewhat higher.

The Platte County Historical Society is a chapter of the Wyoming State Historical Society.  Membership includes receiving Annals of Wyoming three times a year, Wyoming History News, notices of special events such as treks to historic sites, award opportunities, and more are open to the public.  Officers include Rick Robbins, President; Mary Jo Birt, vice president; Kathy Price, Secretary and Diana McDonald, Treasurer.  For more details contact Rick Robbins at 331-3024.