Near Sundance, a blizzard on Christmas day created head-high drifts, stranding many outlying residents until roads to town could be cleared the following day. (Dan Neal/WyoFile)

About 7 miles northeast of Sundance, winds on Christmas Day formed a drift at Gib Wilson’s ranch that was almost one horse deep.

The blizzard hit northeast Wyoming and South Dakota hard, rattling windows and closing roads. It snowed about six inches, but the wind created big drifts, including this one that was as tall as Wilson’s daughter, Judy Neal. Temperatures dipped to 0 degrees and the storm isolated some outlying residents until the afternoon following Christmas.

Among Wyoming river basins, the Powder River Basin has the lowest snow-water equivalent at between 70 percent and 89 percent during this last week of December, according to the National Resource Conservation Service. Most of southeast Wyoming has slightly less moisture than normal, as does the Madison-Gallatin drainage in the northwest. The Sweetwater, Upper Green and Shoshone drainages have the most moisture — more than 130 percent of normal.

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Angus M. Thuermer Jr.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at or (307)...

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