December 14

This Day in History

Disaster

Dec 14, 1967:

Blizzard ravages Navajo reservation

On this day in 1967, record snow continues to fall in New Mexico in a blizzard that eventually kills 51 people. In December of that year, snow fell almost constantly in the northern part of the state for two weeks, piling up to five feet in some areas.

Particularly hard hit by the storm was the Navajo reservation that covers much of the northern part of the state. Much of its population lived in hogans, basic homes made of logs and mud, where they became trapped by the unrelenting snowfall. Additionally, the area was remote and its few roads soon became impassable. In one case, 200 Navajo farm workers were trapped in several trucks near the town of Grant.

Finally, Governor David Cargo ordered the National Guard to airlift supplies to the area. Medicine was also dropped on a nearby Hopi reservation whose residents were also trapped by the snow. On December 18, the United States Air Force began conducting helicopter rescues when it appeared there would be no break in the snowfall. Heavy snowfall spread to other states on December 20. Twenty people died in west Texas from snow-related mishaps. Southern Colorado also experienced extraordinary snowfall all the way through Christmas.

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