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19th & 20th Century Blizzards in Minnesota


Great Lakes Storm of 1835


On Nov 10 in 1835..Severe storms caused 19 shipwrecks on the Great Lakes,and an estimated
254 sailors died while the snow & rain caused ships to weight down.This is considered one of the greatest tragedies of the Great Lakes Region.


The Winter Storm of 1866


On Feb 13th lasting till the 15th in 1866,one of the worst blizzards ever to take place in Minnesota history,struck the sate and lasted 3 days.With drifts recorded over 20 ft,buried the small homes & barns in the western part of the state.


The Winter Storm of 1870


A two day blizzard struck Mar 14-16 in 1870 blizzard struck in northern Iowa and South West Minnesota with up to 16 inches of snowfall reported.Deaths were reported afterwards due to the extreme weight of the snow,and is still remembered in many of the smaller museums in the south west part of the state.


The Storm From Hell In 1873


A three day blizzard struck January 7th-10th in 1873,and prior in the day was nice weather,and people took advantage of it,soon afterwards the blizzard struck,with an extreme temperature drop.Over 70 deaths occured,and several afterwards from heart attcks removing the high drifted snow.Trains were halted,and cattle deaths are estimated in the 100's.


The Early Blizzard of 1880


On October 16th 1880,the earliest blizzard in Minnesota struck the south western & west central part of the state.Snow drifts were reported in excess of 20 feet,that didn't melt till the spring.


The Deathly Blizzard of 1888


On Jan 12th lasting till the 13th in 1888,the day started as a beautiful mild day for January. It occured during the school & work week.The storm struck with dense blinding snow,and the temperature fell to -37 degrees F.Many of the children sent home early from school never made it home,and the deaths reported form this storm total 200,and more afterwards from heart attacks.


Duluth Blizzard of 1892


Starting on March 7th-8th in 1892,Duluth experienced one of its worst blizzards on record.The  70 mph winds created drifts up to 20 feet high,almost burying many of the houses near the Supeior Lakeshore.No reported deaths,but the city was on standstill for almost a week afterwards.


The Park Rapids Blizzard of 1893


On January 31st in 1893,a blizzard made its way into Park Rapids,and in the process the temperature dropped a little over 40 degrees in a 5 hour period.No reported deaths.


The Thanksgiving Blizzard of 1896


On November 26th in 1896,a severe Thanksgiving Day storm still remembered to this day.This storm system produced rain and thunderstorms in southern part of the state,and a blizzard for the central & northern part of the state.Many were caught in this due to traveling,and many deaths were reported.In some parts of the state temperatures dropped to -45 F,with deadly wind chills.


The Lake Superior Blizzard of 1905


On November 27th 1905,a blizzard struck the central part of the state,including Duluth with 60 mph winds.Several ships were reported sunk.


The Great Lakes Blizzard of 1913

On November  9th though the 11th in 1913, one of the worst November storms ever on the Great
Lakes took palce. Blizzard in northern MN.Three ships sunk on Lake Superior alone,and the death toll from this storm is presently unknown.It's expected to be in the many of dozen of life lost.


October Blizzard of 1916


On October 19th in 1916,one of the earliest blizzards recorded in Minnesota history,dropped up to 15 inches of snow in the western counties.The temperature dropped 50 degrees in 6 hours.No reported deaths.


The Dust Blizzard of 1921


On January 16th in 1921,a blizzard in the northern part of the state created winds 59 mph,with winds in the southern part of the state blowing soil in all the southern counties.


The Black Dust Blizzard of 1923


It started on Febuary 12th 1923,and lasted for 3 days ending on the 14th.The blizzard got its name from blowing in soil & dirty snow from North Dakota.

Armistice Day Blizzard

The deadly storm that struck on November 11th 1940.The very well known Armistice Day Blizzard. An unsuspecting mild day with hunting season at its peak.17 inches of snow fell in the Minneapolis/St Paul area alone,with a reported 27 inches of snow reported at Collegeville.49 deaths were reported on land.This storm system also took the lives of 59 sailors on the Great Lakes.

The Blizzard of 1941

This storm struck on March 14th 1941.It hit the western counties in Minnesota with 85 mph winds
at Grand Forks.Duluth itself had 75 mph winds.32 deaths were reported with some afterwards.

Central/Northern Minnesota Blizzard of 1950

On December 5th - 8th in 1950 over 2 feet of snow was dropped on the state.No cases of death reported,but a storm that definately made the history books for many.

Lake Superior Blizzard of 1960

On November 28th 1960,a whopper of a snow storm pounded Lake Superior producing 20 to 40 ft waves causing extensive damage to shoreline homes & business.The town Grand Marais suffered three feet of water in the streets.Winds gusted to 73 mph.The damage was from the direct winds on the lake that caused the damage,with only a foot of snow being reported with the system.

International Falls Storm of 1966

On March 1st-4th on 1966,a strong snow system left 37 inches of snow near
International Falls.This was a bordeline storm system that may not of been a blizzard,but the snow fall definately made this storm one remembered.


The Winter of 1968-1969

In the months of December & January of 1968-1969,one of the stormiest winters on record,with with six blizzards on record that winter left 30 to 50 inches alone from those two months.

The Blizzard of 1972

On January 24th 1972,a severe blizzard in the south-west of the state,with recored winds of 72 miles,centers in on Worthington County,with only 10 inches of snow being reported,it still goes down as one of the worst in the area in memory.The county was virtually shut down for 3 days afterwards,and many were stranded who took shelter where ever they could.No reported deaths.


New Years Blizzard of 1972


On December 31st 1972,a New Year's Eve blizzard put an end to many parties,and celebrations that night.That was pretty much the reported damage from this storm,and many held a grudge about the timing than anything else.


The Blizzard of 1975..Another one for the record books.

On January 10th,and lasting through the 12th in 1975,a storm system considered one of the worse in memory closed many raods in the central,and northen parts of the state for nearly 2 weeks.20 foot drifts,with a reported loss of over 15,000 cows & livestock.Many deaths were reported with this storm.During the blizzard itself over 14 people died,and dozens more from heart attack afterwards.

Duluth's 1975 Blizzard


On March 23rd through the 24th,and then again starting March 26th lasting through the 29th in 1975,a storm system with winds recorded at 100 mph on Lake Superior especially,created 20 ft waves on the lake,and caused extensive damaged to properties.Snow fall was only 12 inches,bit the strength of a blizzard is its wind factor.

Blizzard of 1975..The Sinking of The Edmund Fitzgerald

On November 10-11 in the year 1975,a dangerous winter storm system with 71 mph winds created 12 to 15 foot waves on Lake Superior.With the combination of the freezing rain,and driving winds the Edmund Fitzgerald became victim and sunk,not to be found till decades later its location.

The 1984 Blizzard in Southern Minnesota

On Febuary 4th 1984,a blizzard in southern MN with dangerous winds in excess of 80 mph,created blinding conditions with 0% visability.16 people dies in this storm,and many of them were those outdoors.Many were stranded,and took shelter where ever possible to avoid the dangerous wind chills.

Duluth Blizzard of 1985


On March 3rd 1985,a blizzard struck the northern counties with 6 to 24 inches of snowfall.The city of Duluth reported winds gusting to 90 mph,with drifts up to 25 feet included.Businesses & schools were closed for 2-3 days in some areas from the effects.


November Blizzards of 1988


On November 16th 1988,a very strong storm systems drops 11 inches
of snow in the northern counties,especially in International Falls where the brunt of this storm is really felt.Then again another dangerous system arrives on the 26th,this times covering most of the state,with winds reaching 63 mph at Windom,and other areas of south-west part of the state.Snow amounts ranged for 7-15 inches.


The Red River Valley Blizzard of 1989

On January 6th through the 8th in 1989 the worst blizzard in history strikes in the Red River Valley dropping 26 inches of snow.The major damage was the thaw of the snowfall in the spring,resulting in millions in property damage.

The Halloween Blizzard of 1991


We all remember the October 31st Blizzard in 1991,and thus got its name the Halloween Blizzard. Over 28 inches at MSP,and nearly 37 inches reported Duluth.This was one of the largest and
longest lasting blizzards in state history.This storm system really took a toll on the wildlife through out the state of Minnesota.


I'll be adding personal stories to those who were involved with these storms,and shed light on what it was like experiencing the past without credible weather reports.