As Clevelanders sat down for Thanksgiving dinner in 1950, a storm was brewing.
The snow began Saturday. Winds hit 25 mph. By Sunday, Nov. 26, the temperature dipped to 12 degrees.
Streetcars were backed up for blocks along Euclid Avenue near East 79th Street. Only 18 of the city's 61 transit routes were passable. To clear the way, the Cleveland Transit System deployed 15 bulldozers, 31 salt trucks, two graders and a hydraulic crane — used to move abandoned cars, about 10,000 of which were ditched in the storm.
On the East Side, an auto supply shop sold tire chains for $20 per set — almost $200 today. At Republic Steel Corp., a maintenance crew kept the furnaces running, while eating and sleeping at the plant. To feed the stranded men, a chow-laden boat was dispatched up the Cuyahoga River.
By Monday, when the weather slowed, 20.2 inches had fallen. Mayor Thomas Burke banned cars from the roads. "More snow is predicted. This is bad news for Cleveland, which was just beginning to dig out and requires drastic action," he said, according to the Nov. 27 Plain Dealer.
It wasn't all misery, though. The kids, off school all week, were no doubt ecstatic on Dec. 2 when the city recreation department opened 25 sledding hills. The crisis ended later that week, as street crews finally cleared the 22.1 inches of accumulated snow.