October Blizzard

On October 15-16, 1880 one of the earliest blizzards ever recorded struck eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa with wind gusts over 60 mph, heavy snow and drifts over 15 feet high. That storm was made famous by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her book “The Long Winter” as the October Blizzard.

Since that storm nearly 130 years ago, significant October snows have been rare. There was the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 covering much of Minnesota, perhaps being the one exception, although more fell on November 1 than on Halloween. In our area the last significant October snow was on October 24, 2001 when 5.4 inches was recorded. That one storm also placed October 2001 as the second snowiest October on record.

The snowiest October on record was back in 1951 when 8.1 inches fell during a storm on October 29-30. So although snow in October is common significant snowfall is not.

2 Responses

  1. ralphieund

    Didn’t that blizzard kick off one of the worst winters in the history of the northern plains? I couldn’t imagine what would happen if something similar happened in our modern era. People would immediately scoff at global warming. Similar, if we got a heat wave similar to the 1930’s next summer, people would be jumping on the global warming band-wagon.

  2. Daryl Ritchison

    It did start a horrible winter, but although it started earlier than the 1996-7 winter, I don’t think it was much different then the one we experienced, we just had modern equipment to dug ourselves out.

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