Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Blizzard of '75

Headlines from 40 years ago from the Omaha World Herald

Forty years ago this Saturday, Omaha experienced what is considered its worst blizzard on record. A foot of snow and winds of 60 mph stranded about 10,000 cars on metro area roadways and hundreds of people at their jobs.

Boy, do I remember this blizzard. In 1975 the forecasters didn’t have the tools to predict like today. Woke up that morning to snow and blowing snow and yet school started as usual. Parents were upset but sent their kids. By 9.00 o’clock the conditions had gotten so bad that school was called. Students had only been there a half hour. A lot of students had made to the school and had to turn back. At that time we owned the local bar. Travelers had to exit 1-80 because the highway was blocked by very high drifts. Our small town only has one motel and it filled up fast, as did the three churches and the community hall and school gym. Calls were made to residents that had extra bedrooms. One restaurant and our bar was the only place that served food.  This civic engineer, just back from years in South American, stopped at our place for a bite to eat. He had nowhere to go and hubby was closing up so as to get home before it got worse.  So he brought the fellow with him. That stay lasted 3 days. He was very entertaining with all of his travel stories. We had ping pong set up on the extra kitchen table in the playroom and he was willing to play ping pong with the girls by the hour. His family was in Lincoln Ne. and he worried about them and getting out in the snow and getting lost, not having seen snow before and not knowing its dangers. He was a super house guest. He tried to pay us for his stay and food but we wouldn’t take anything. He traveled 1-80 again around St. Valentine’s and stopped with cute white stuffed dogs with red bows around their necks for each girl. Had those dogs till I sold all my daycare stuff.

It definitely was the snow of the century. School was closed for a week and then opened for students who could make it. A lot of country roads were still impassable. We live on the edge of town with no protection from north winds in the winter. So when school started, the drifts were so high out front, that when school buses went by all we could see was the top of their roofs. Very eerie feeling. A couple of days after the blizzard stopped the town called to see if hubby would open up so that travelers stranded in town would have a place to buy food. Hubby said “Sure, if you come up and dig us out”. We couldn’t get out a door and we had four entrances to this old house at the time (it once was a duplex). So two guys with a tractor came up and dug us out. Boy was I glad. I was full of “What ifs”. No exit made me nervous.

Definitely a blizzard that a lot of us will never forget. Today, forty years later, we have very little snow but the schools in the whole state are closed due to very dangerous wind chills. Right now out my window it is minus 4 with wind chills at minus 35. The high forecast for today is minus 5. Forty years later and another good day to stay in, if you can.

Stay warm.


1 comment:

  1. Holy man what a storm! But I enjoyed reading your warm memories of it.