3 times Dayton snowstorms were so big, you actually should have bought bread and milk

Credit: Dayton Daily News file photo

Credit: Dayton Daily News file photo

The Dayton region has weathered significant storms in the past, but the winters of 1950, 1978 and 2004 stand out.

Here’s a look at three times the Miami Valley has been buried in snow.




Nearly a foot of snow covered Ohio in 1950, just after Thanksgiving.

The Dayton region was paralyzed for days, and the city’s mayor declared the first official emergency since the 1913 flood.

Vandalia-Butler High School opened its door to 176 “storm refugees.” The stranded slept on chairs, benches or the floor. Volunteers gave out food in the school cafeteria.

Funerals were postponed and burials delayed because cemeteries were packed with snow. Hearses were unable to get through the roads for services. “One Dayton undertaker reported a body had been brought to his establishment in a dairy truck.”


Credit: Dayton Daily News archive

Credit: Dayton Daily News archive

Twenty-eight years later, the Great Blizzard of 1978 -- dubbed a “once in a lifetime storm” -- blew in with near-hurricane strength winds and record-breaking snow totals.

Local interstates were closed for days, the National Guard was called in, and for the first time since the 1913 flood, there was no mail delivery.

The storm killed more than 70 in the Midwest, with 51 of the deaths in Ohio.


The Christmas snow storm of 2004 blew through the region Dec. 22, 2004, dropping tons of snow and causing bone-chilling temperatures.

When it was all over, 16.4 inches of snow was measured at the Dayton International Airport, 13 inches of snow in downtown Dayton and 24 inches in Greenville. The storm broke the previous single-storm record of 12.9 inches during the Blizzard of ’78.

Holiday travel was disrupted, neighbors helped each other push automobiles out of drifts, and the Ohio National Guard cleared downtown Dayton streets.

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