The Big Snow Thanksgiving Weekend 1950


With temperatures approaching 70 degrees recently, we are reminded of another November day 66 years ago when Pittsburgh was hit with a huge snow storm the weekend after Thanksgiving that dumped 30 inches of snow on the city and surrounding areas. Ed Lybarger, one of our volunteers and a library patron recalls…

I was 5 years old at the time, so the memory isn’t always precise.  The newspapers forecast “flurries” on Wednesday.  

As I recall, the snow fell much of the day and all night Friday…much more than was forecast…and into Saturday morning.  There were no newspapers Saturday; the city and surrounding areas were shut down.  Peters Township at that time used a large Galion road grader to plow snow from the roads; that had been accomplished by the time my dad dug a path up to the top of the driveway where he had left the car Friday.  Other photos taken at that time show the plowed but still snow covered road (now Old Oak Road) and a neighbor who was likewise excavating.  I do not recall whether this was Saturday afternoon or Sunday.  The power was out but we could cook with our gas range.  We had gas forced air heat, which depended on electricity to run the blower.  Conveniently, we had a couple storage batteries in the house, and my dad rigged the furnace blower to run from them, so we had at least some heat for a while…a good thing, since it became bitterly cold following the storm.

You can read the front page story from the Pittsburgh Press from the day after Thanksgiving, November 24, 1950.

I do not remember how long it took to get things back to a semblance of normalcy.  I was not yet in school, so there is no memory of missing it.  I believe my dad went to work (in Mount Lebanon) Monday, though, so the highway was open.  Just how much snow was there?  It varied across the region, but the number 30 seemed to be popular around here!  

Visit our Local History Photos page to see more images from Peters Township past! Credit for the photo on this page: Samuel F. Lybarger photo, courtesy of Edward H. Lybarger

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