Blizzard of 1967

January 25th, 2009 at 11:59 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

<–abandoned cars and buses on Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago. I was in high school (New Trier) and living in Wilmette, Illinois during the blizzard of ’67. Outside of the snow, my best memory is some kid driving around the high school in the blizzard with his convertible top down and everyone pelting him with snowballs. A week before the storm, the temperature fell to -8 in Chicago. Then, two days before the big snow, the temperature hit 65. At 9 PM on 1/24, it was still 60 degrees and we were under a severe t-storm watch! I was at a meeting of the St. Joseph teen club and I wanted to be outside watching the storm come through. Winds hit 48 mph at Midway Airport, funnel clouds were sighted and one person was killed (four injured) when winds blew down a wall at a construction site. I remember measuring 29″ of new snow in Wilmette (a little boost from Lake Michigan) along with 6-foot drifts. An estimated 50,000 cars and 1100 buses were abandoned in the storm. A total of 273 people were arrested for looting on the south and near-west sides of the city. Officially, Chicago had 23″ of snow in 29 hours. Here’s home movies after the storm, and more video.

23 Responses to “Blizzard of 1967”

  1. pete from byron says:


  2. Jerry (Lansing) says:

    I remember the snowstorm well. I was 14 and in jr high. It took the school bus just over an hour to reach my stop whereas under normal conditions only 15 minutes. Before we went to bed, my brothers and I had kept the driveway at the house clear only to find it buried by the time we got up the next morning. Schools in Lansing were closed for the rest of the week. Snowmobiles were new back then and they were about the only moving vehicles on US 27. Everyone walked to Eberhard’s Grocery store (now the Antique MEGA Mall) only to find them running out of bread, eggs, milk, etc. Many of the residential streets were cleared by people “shoveling” them out. It was a time when people came together to help their neighbors. Clinton County didn’t have the equipment to handle the about of snow that came so quickly in a short period of time. And there weren’t many independent snow plows.

  3. I remember this one. I was a senior at Hartford HS. We lived way out in the country on a dairy farm. The plows couldn’t get to us, neither could the milk truck to pump out our bulk milk tank. My dad had to dump the milk out in the snow because we had no other place to put it. I think we were out of school for over a week.

  4. Larry of Hastings/Barry Co. says:

    I was 6 1/2 years old. My mother wouldn’t let us go outdoors and play in the snow. The snow drifts were taller than we were. Those were the good old days, we knew how to have blizzards and tornadoes back then. I am sure, in my life time again, I will see another major blizzard and a major outbreak of tornadoes.

  5. Edmund says:

    I was 47 and we had a bulldozer come down the road to get the 20 ft. drifts out of the road.It was a bad storm.

  6. Slim Jim(nw GR) says:

    In the 67 storm it was the only time in my life time that we (I) was snowed in we lived in Bay City at the time and we could not get out of the house, we had to shovel out the back door and believe it there were drifts over 6′ and right next to them you could see the grass. One thing I do not remember is it getting warm before the storm. But I do know we had thunder and lightning also we did not have school until Wednesday the next week so we were off for a whole week. In 78 that strom was bad but I lived in the small town of Esexville and they had the roads plowed the next day and we could drive all around Esexville but could not leave town…But I did have off work for two days.

  7. Dawn of Holland says:

    I remember this well. I was in 6th grade in Kalamazoo. We were let out of school around noon because of the storm. My best friend’s mom let her come home with me, for she was planning on spending the night. My single mother was stranded downtown at work for 2 days. My little sister was at her babysitter’s house for the duration of the storm. So, my friend, my brother, and I played house for 2 days. We had candles ready in case of a power outage. We made grilled cheese and tomato soup, and thought we could cook the pheasants in the freezer if we had to. My mom finally made it home 2 days later on the back of someone’s snowmobile. We went sledding on the big hill behind our house, and had a ball being “home alone”.

  8. Diane of Holland says:

    I remember that storm very well. I was 15 living in Carson City up in Montcalm County. We ended up being out of school for at least a couple weeks I think. I know that we rode snowmobiles out on roads with snow that was at least 5-6 feet deep in places. Needed bulldozers to open those roads back up.

  9. Joy says:

    We remember the blizzard of ’67 very well as we were on our way home from our honeymoon on the east coast and we were stranded on the highway just east of Williamston. We sat on the highway from 9 am until 6 pm when finally the entrance ramp to Williamston was opened up and 60 semi’s and 300 cars pulled into the town and spent the night. The methodist church fed all the people pancakes for free and residents opened up their homes to any one who needed a place to stay. Many of the truckers just stayed at the church. We ended up staying there two nights before they were able to get the highway opened on the west side on Lansing so we could get home to Grand Rapids. The hospitality that was extended to us was amazing!!

  10. MChamberlain says:

    This is one storm that I will never forget. My oldest child/daughter was born on Jan 26, 1967. My husband was truck a driver and he was stranded in a snow bank. My neighbor, who was also a trucker, had made it home and he drove me from Parchment to Borgess Hospital on Gull Road, Kal. He prayed out loud all the way there. We made it and he even made it back home. My Mother-in-law was a nurse at Borgess, so she stayed with me most of the time. My husband finally made it to his parents’ house in Kalamazoo. He climbed out the second story window the next day to walk to the hospital to see us. It’s hard to believe that my “baby” is 42 today and that she was born in that blizzard.

  11. John Hulett says:

    I was a junior at Owosso College in Owosso, Michigan. I worked part-time as an orderly for Owosso Memorial Hospital. I could not get back to the campus and stayed for 3 days working 12 hour shifts covering for other who could not get to work. I remember sleeping in a former nursing quarters, where I could hear every page over the speaker – waking me up about every hour. Moms about to deliver where brought in on snowmobiles. It was an wild experience.

    1. Clara Vachon LPN says:

      I remember this blizzard well…..I was a nurse at Owosso Memorial Hospital from 1966-1968. My friend and roomate Diana Detzler LPN and I had recently returned from a European trip and started our new job working at the hospital. The nurses were picked up with snowmobiles to work because many could’t make it in. We lived on Pine Street so the snowmobiles didn’t have too far to pick us up. we we worked many hours like everyone else. Diana and I are still good friends and keep in close contact; both of us have retired from nursing. I think Diana dated an orderly from the Owosso College way back then, but can’t remember his name.

  12. Pauline (Leonard and Wilson) says:

    I just got this from a friend at work. It seems appropriate for this blog! Happy Winter all :-)

    A Michigan Winter Poem

    It’s winter here in Michigan
    And the gentle breezes blow,
    Seventy miles an hour,
    At twenty five below.
    Oh, how I love ole Michigan
    When the snow’s up to your butt.
    You take a breath of winter
    And your nose freezes shut.
    Yes, the weather here is wonderful
    So I guess I’ll hang around.
    I could never leave my Michigan
    Cause I’m frozen to the ground!

  13. Mary says:

    I was 17 and was stranded in a vehical overnight on the Indiana turnpike somewhere near Gary. Day 2 we made it to the “glass house” and were there for 2 more days sleeping on the floor! Movers brought in blankets from their trucks to keep us warm. People ran out of money and the resturant would not give anything away free, so my parents and others bought food for folks who had no money. I remember a little girl with no coat and a party dress on, she had gone with her mom to get her dad at work and then the snow fell and a truck jack knifed and that is what kept us stranded until plows came through the next day. Noone was prepared for it. People left too soon and some died when their exhaust killed them when they got stuck again and ran the car engine to keep warm. It was some experience. I saw the best and worse in people those 3 days stuck in a resturant as food and milk ran out and the staff was exhausted.

  14. Alan (Leonard & Beckwith NE GR) says:

    For some reason I think of this storm hitting in November, but maybe that’s because of how warm it was the day before the snowstorm hit. We lived outside of Hastings and my parents ran a restaurant and motel, and that morning my Dad walked across the driveway to the restaurant not needing a coat or boots. By evening we had to bring him a coat and boots, and we had to shut down the restaurant and motel because there was no traffic on the main roads. I was in high school, but schools were closed because the county plows couldn’t handle the tremendous drifts. By week’s end, we started running out of food! What a storm!

  15. Linda says:

    I’ve often thought about that blizzard. I was 20 years old and my baby was almost three months old when it hit. My husband was at work and couldn’t get home. He spent the night in a barrel at his place of employment. We lived in the country and had a long driveway. When he was finally able to get home he was upset that I hadn’t shoveled the drive!! I told him I didn’t dare leave the baby in the house alone…what a deal that was!!

  16. MAR 1974 says:

    I don’t remember the ’67 blizzard much, but in the ’67 high school annual the have pictures of the event and a another event that happened that spring, April 21, 1967 to be exact. A tornado hit our town that day.
    The same day as the Belvidere IL storm.

  17. Tomin8tor says:

    Global warming caused the blizzard of ’67!

    Oh wait, back then the environmental whackos were claiming global COOLING!

    Now they blame blizzards like this on global warming — but it’s funny how they “predict” these winter storms *after* they occur!!!

    Come on people. Wake up. Global warming is a HOAX by people trying to take your money!!

  18. bndmom03 says:

    I was 9, and lived in Oak Park on the west side of Chicago. I remember delivery trucks could not get to the grocery stores, who ran out of the essentials, so the bread truck, who was stuck in the snow, was selling loaves of bread right out of the back of his truck.

  19. Charlie in NH says:

    I was in jr. high at Gull Lake HS. I recall going to school wearing loafers because there was little or no snow on the ground. The bus ride home seemed hours long because of my cold feet. Dad insisted on going to work the next day. His VW beetle made it to the end of the road before he gave up and walked home. School was out for at least a week. A month or two later, the snow on Gull Lake melted then re-froze one bitterly cold night. The lake became a giant black-ice skating rink. The ice boaters, Dad included, had a field day.

    That is the storm all others are measured by.

  20. cas says:

    I remember it well. We did not have to go to church on Sunday- which was unheard of. We carved out an igloo from the pile of snow at the end of the drive way. There was a huge snow drift along the south side of the house and we dug a tunnel west to east aside the house. It was a kid’s dream come true!!

  21. Ellen from Bancroft says:

    I was 12yrs old and living w my family of nine. All of the doors (2) to the house were drifted shut and we put my brother out a window to go and push the snow away to get out. At this time we had milk delivered to the house and the milkman made the delivery on his snowmobile.

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