The Deadliest Snowstorm in History

April 2, 2024


There had been four years of drought in Iran by the beginning of 1972, but for a week in February, the country experienced what has come to be known as the deadliest blizzard in history.

The storm covered a vast area from north to the south and across much of the country’s central part during that week in February. In southern Iran, the storm dumped an incredible 26 feet (7.9 meters) of snow, which buried entire villages. Other areas of the country were hit with around 10 feet (3.0 meters) of snow.

In addition to the massive snowfall, the temperature also dropped drastically to -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius). Those who survived had to contend with frozen pipes, a subsequent water shortage, and food shortages. To make matters worse, many of the villages that had been buried had an outbreak of flu.

In the city of Ardakan, newspaper reports had the number of people buried or trapped by snow at 4,000. Other reports told there were no survivors in the villages of Kakan and Kumar, in the southern part of Iran. In a small northern village called Sheklab, which had a population of 100 people, rescuers were only able to locate 18 bodies frozen under the village that had been entirely covered by snow.

At one point, reports had the missing at 6,000, and the final death toll became approximately 4,000, making the Iran Blizzard the deadliest snowstorm in history.

Sources: NY Daily News, NY Times, NOAA, St. Petersburg Times, Schenectady Gazette

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