While the worst winter in the last century was during the 1948-49 season, other significant snow storms have been source of stories of courage, hardship, and resourcefulness.
Betty Fowler, former editor of the Lehi Free Press, recounts a story of the Fowler family who lived on Lehi’s North bench. It was the spring of 1932.
The morning was beautiful and the sun was shining. The girls didn’t even wear a coat to school. The younger boys wore coats. The storm began about noon and didn’t let up. The snow piled and drifted. Parents began to get worried about students getting home from school. The school officials decided to let school out early.
The bus driver was reluctant to let the Fowler children off at the regular place at the bottom of the hill, but there were other children that needed to be taken home.
The two little boys, two girls, and an older brother trudged up the hill against the freezing blizzard. The girls fell, exhausted, into the drifts. The young boys huddled against the fence. The older brother forged ahead and finally fell into kitchen, gasping, “go get the kids.”
An older brother grabbed a blanket and rushed to find the children. He found them crying, huddled together. He put the blanket around them and they walked with their backs to the wind until they reached home. The kids were O.K., but one brother suffered frostbitten ears from the ordeal.
In 1972, Lehi was pummeled with a record setting snow storm. Families in outlying areas were stranded for up to four days waiting for snow plows to clear the roads. According to Gary Barnes, “I got out my snowmobile and checked on the families out west to make sure they were O.K. Some couldn’t get out of their driveways for four days.” A county commissioner was called and had a county Caterpiller come to dig out those with livestock. Snow drifted over the fence tops and many roads were impassable for days.
The after effects of a snowy winter brought about one of the worst floods in recent memory. In the spring of ’83, Lehi’s waterways were not capable of holding the torrent. Lehi Elementary’s parking lot and playground were lakes. Water was everywhere. Utah Lake breached its banks and homes, farms, and roads were covered in water. What is presently Loch Lomond subdivision would have been completely underwater in 1983.
In recent history, February 13, 2008 stands out as a day to remember. The snow came somewhat unexpectedly and fell steadily. SR 92 was an ice skating rink. Cars spun out of control and landed in ditches and off roadways. The traffic continued to pile up. Buses loaded with children from Ridgeline Elementary in Highland could not get children home. Salonna Thomas, teacher on special assignment at Ridgeline wrote:
Students were marooned on buses for hours before the buses made their way back to Ridgeline. As they finally arrived back at school several hours later, shivering and frightened, they were greeted with peanut butter sandwiches, chocolate milk and apples. Thank goodness Dr. Higgins, the principal, had put together an emergency plan just a few weeks before the storm. Calling-trees had been established so that every single parent could be reached.
People in the homes around the perimeter of the school brought blankets, pillows, and food to the school on snowmobiles and four wheelers. Students played games, ate snacks and watched movies in their classrooms. They fell asleep around 11:00 p.m. It was such an adventure that students who had made it home were begging their parents to take them back to school for the “party.” Approximately 100 students, teachers, and parents spend a safe night at Ridgeline Elementary. The best outcome of this night is that every student was eventually returned home safely. (Shaping Communities and Building Futures, 100 Years of Education Students in Alpine School District, 2015, p.75)
For those unhappy about snow, there are plenty of stories to tell, but for those who love the snow and are grateful for it, here is a poem written by Betty Fowler in 1973.
Pearl and diamond snow drops,
A million dollars’ worth,
A fortune falls in Utah
The greatest snow on earth!