Home1958Blizzard of the Century

deepsnow2Since we’ve had a lot of snow this year in parts of Canada and the US, snow is uppermost on a lot of people’s minds. I thought I would write about the worst blizzard I can remember in my lifetime.

This happened while we were living on the same farm near Gladstone, Manitoba that I wrote about in the last post. We called it the Jack Stewart place as that was the name of the fellow we rented it from.

I believe it happened in 1958 when I was 7 years old. It snowed and blew for three days and three nights. It was so bad during the height of the storm my father had to follow the fence line to the barn to do the chores even in the daytime, as visibility was zero most of the time.

When it was all over my father had to shovel a path to the barn and then shovel for hours to dig the barn out. The barn was a quonset type and the only ventilation was at the ends which were drifted right level with the top of the roof. He had to get the end shoveled out to allow air in before the animals inside suffocated.deepsnow

I remember my first trip to the barn after the storm I had to look straight up to see daylight the pathway was so deep. My poor father put his back out of commission from the effort and ended up in bed for a couple of days leaving my mother and I to do the milking and the rest of the chores.

The roadways for miles around were drifted to 13 ft. deep and hard as cement. One could walk on top of the drifts and step over the telephone lines. Even in the fields the drifts were so hard the horses could walk on top of the snow.

School was closed for the 3 days of the storm and for another week after. Even when we did start back to school I had to walk across fields as the roads weren’t plowed out for a very long time. It was very hard slogging as by now the drifts had softened so one would break through the surface and flounder in snow up to the waist trying desperately to get back on top again.

snow tunnelIt was fun for us kids that winter as the drifts were all around the buildings but with a 2 or 3 foot area all around that was bare to the ground such was the ways in which the fierce winds moved the snow around. We spent most of our time when we weren’t in class, digging tunnels and playing King of the Castle.. The snow was so hard it could be cut in blocks and used to build igloos and snow forts.

In the spring we had a couple more weeks off school because as the snow melted it caused flooding and washed out nearly every bridge in the area including the one between our house and the school. I’ve seen and been out in many other blizzards since then, but nothing to match that one thank goodness.

 

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