This week marks the 60th Anniversary of Ashe County’s biggest snowfall. The County’s average yearly snowfall is 35 inches. In 1960, 43 inches of snow fell in the month of March alone. By Comparison, the ‘Storm of the Century’ which buried the County in snow in March of 1993, produced 20 inches. Unlike many March snows, the 1960 snow did not melt quickly, allowing huge windswept drifts to pile up, further impeding travel. On March 11th, helicopters arrived to assist residents trapped in their homes. These drastic actions drew national attention. The following article, written by the Associated Press, was featured in newspapers all over the United States. Full text of the article is provided below.
Rescue Teams Remain Busy
WEST JEFFERSON, N.C. (AP)
Helicopter rescue teams concentrated on Ashe and Avery Counties today where the majority of 1,500 snowbound mountain families are situated.
The snowbound families are in Ashe, Avery, Wilkes, Alleghany, and Watauga counties, situated in the jagged Alleghany Mountain chain.
Russ Jones, a Red Cross disaster worker from Atlanta who has e established emergency headquarters here, estimated there are 500 to 700 snowbound families in Ashe, 400 in Avery and about 600 scattered in the three other counties.
The Army, National Guard, Red Cross, civil defense and state highway department all have sent vehicles and personnel to the area, covered with up to three feet of snow and drifts up to 35 feet.
Weasels, Army snow vehicles with tracks, were flown from Langley Field, Va., to Charlotte and then brought here by trailer.
Jones said rescue teams reached 445 families in the five-county area Friday.
Burgess Furniture and Bare and Little’s, in downtown West Jefferson, are buried in snow in 1960.