Bad Weather Postpones Wyoming’s ‘Storm Of The Century’

A strong winter storm making its way through Wyoming has shut down a planned showing of the PBS documentary Storm of the Century: The Blizzard of 49 in the town of Sinclair.

Greg Johnson

February 21, 20233 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Bad weather has apparently canceled the “Storm of the Century” – or at least postponed it some.

With high winds and snow already blowing through southwestern Wyoming on Tuesday afternoon ahead of a major storm expected to dump about a foot of snow along Interstate 80, the town of Sinclair has postponed the “Storm of the Century” until next week.

The town had planned a free showing Tuesday evening of the PBS documentary about the deadliest winter event to hit Wyoming, “Storm of the Century: The Blizzard of ’49.”

“Instead, it’s being canceled by the blizzard of ’23,” quipped Monte Thayer, the town’s community events director.

“Well, maybe not canceled, but it’s been postponed for one week until next week,” Thayer said, adding there’s no denying the irony of the film’s title and it being put on hold because of a major weather event.

“I thought this year was a good year to show it again, it’s a great (film), but now we’re getting hit with another blizzard,” he said.

Interstate 80 nearly Rawlins is closed because of winter conditions and dangerous blowing snow Tuesday afternoon. (Wyoming Department of Transportation)

Already A Heavy Winter

Sinclair and nearby Rawlins have already endured a pretty brutal winter, said Cowboy State Daily Meteorologist Don Day.

“For that part of the state, I think they’re felt this whole year so far has been the Blizzard of ’49,” he said. “Carbon County, and Fremont and Natrona counties, have all be battered and beaten so far. For them, it’s been the Blizzard of ’49 all winter long.”

They can expect more over the next couple of days, Day said, with the Sinclair and Rawlins area getting about a foot of snow, “or a possibility of more than that.”

Better Times

While the Blizzard of 1949 is historic for Wyoming in its scope, severity and toll on human and animal life, communities are better situated to handle major winter events than they were more than seven decades ago.

“I think we’ve had some (comparable storms) since,” Day said. “But we live in a different time now with technology and communications where storms like that just don’t sneak up like they used to.”

For now, those living along the I-80 corridor between Laramie and Rock Springs can stay home, stay warm and stay safe, Thayer said.

The free showing of “Storm of the Century” will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Parco/Sinclair Historical Theatre.

But if you for some reason want to ride out this week’s blizzard by reliving the past, you can stream the PBS production of “The Blizzard of ’49” on YouTube.

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Greg Johnson

Managing Editor

Veteran Wyoming journalist Greg Johnson is managing editor for Cowboy State Daily.