TOP PHOTO: The blizzard hit late Friday night into Saturday, March 12-13, and County Executive Tom Stiner sent this Hum-V and two drivers to assist the Campbell County EMS through Tuesday the next week.

La Follette Patrolman Bobby Vann during the Blizzard of ’93. Notice La Follette Collision Center (now the Campbell County EMS building) in the background and the amount of snow on the cars. This is on North Massachusetts Avenue.

By Dwane Wilder – WLAF NEWS ARCHIVES FROM MARCH 13, 2013

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – As storms go, the Blizzard of 1993 was a once-in-a-lifetime event for Campbell Countians that dug themselves out from more than a foot of snow during the weekend of March 12-14. In some stretches of Interstate 75 on Jellico Mountain, snow drifts were reported as deep as 14 feet. Schools, churches and some businesses were closed for days.

Thanks to Jeff Bond for sharing some recently found Blizzard of 1993 photos.

Almost 1,000 travelers were forced to make an unscheduled stay in Caryville after the interstate had to be shut down.

The late Harold Branam, 79 years old at the writing of this 2013 story, remembers the blizzard well. He had been working almost four years at WLAF Radio when the Storm of the Century hit. Branam came on the air at 5am each Saturday to host his Bluegrass show.

Jeff Bond is on his ATV on West 4th Street near Hollingsworth’s Meat Market.

“What I remember most about it is somebody taking me to work. I don’t know who it was, but somebody took me to work and brought me back,” he said.

“It was something else. That was the biggest snow I had ever seen. I don’t remember a more hazardous time than that.”

The late Vic King was 59-years old at the time of this archived story. King, a teacher and coach at La Follette Middle School, was right in the thick of the action as a member of the Campbell County Amateur Radio Club. The local group of 30 to 40 active HAM Radio operators was instrumental in providing emergency communications during the blizzard. That included health and welfare checks when folks couldn’t connect with family and friends. They also passed along messages about stranded motorists.

Those were the days before cell phones became prevalent. King said there was only one cellular tower back then, and it was situated atop Caryville Mountain. Of course, if the power went out, so did cellular service.

La Follette Country Club board member Bobby Vann during the Blizzard of 1993 comes off the Number 4 Tee all the while violating club rules.

N4RVF King, KB4VR the late Jerry Stout and KA4OK Todd Overbay threw their 4-wheel drive vehicles into action to deliver food and supplies to stranded residents wherever possible. “If we knew about and thought we could get to some of those, that’s what we did,” said King.

Clarence Lowe, a teacher at Campbell County High School, was one of the few people able to get out of town the following Monday, March 15. He took a group of students to Nashville in his Buick for a computer competition. They were the only East Tennessee students able to make it to Nashville.

“It had cleared off enough by Monday, and they let them go. We go to Cookeville and there wasn’t any snow,” said Lowe.

Charlie Hutson, a dispatcher for the City of La Follette at the time, said he remembers having to use military and 4-wheel drive vehicles to get anything from Point A to Point B. Hutson said everything was really quiet until daybreak, and then the phone never stopped ringing after that.

“We got a call not long after I got there that someone had passed away up the valley. EMS had a World War II ambulance they called Lightning that we sent to pick up the body. In some places, there was two to three feet of snow where it had drifted,” said Hutson.

Hutson said La Follette Police Officer Dormas Miller was also dispatched to transfer a body from the hospital to one of the local funeral homes in his Dodge pick-up truck.

Josh Vann, now the manager of the La Follette Country Club, is sledding at the golf course during the Blizzard of 1993.

“There was very little traffic on the roads. We transported medicine, kerosene and dead bodies. Twenty years ago (now 30 years ago), that’s what you did,” said Hutson.

To top everything off, Hutson said his relief dispatcher, Mark Wright, came sliding off Rose Hill on a sled to get to work. (WLAF NEWS ARCHIVES RE-PUBLISHED-03/13/2023-6AM-THIS IS FROM MARCH 13, 2013)

One Reply to “Remember waking up 30-years ago today to a mountain of snow?”

  1. I broke my neck in the blizzard of 93. Was stranded at home and had to stay in bed until Monday to be taken to the doctor. I had 9 and a half hours of surgery and 2 bones from the bone bank. I have had 5 surgeries over the years and am fused from my 1 to my 9 getting ready to see the neurologist again. Having problems again.

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