WEATHER: Recalling Halloween Blizzard of 1991
Few things prompt you to remember what you were doing at that time. One of those is significant weather - and one of the most significant weather events in Minnesota occurred 20 years ago. Do you remember what you were doing when the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 struck?
Trick or treating was limited to the hardy as winds picked up and light rain changed over to freezing rain during the evening and early morning hours. Snow started falling in earnest during mid-morning in Bemidji.
The north woods were spared the full wrath of the storm, but snow totals generally ranged from 10 inches to 14 inches in the Park Rapids and Bemidji areas.
Traffic moved slowly but local authorities reported no major problems. A Cessna 172 crashed into trees northwest of the Bemidji Airport. The pilot was reported to be uninjured.
The storm's greatest impact was across southern and eastern Minnesota.
Albert Lea and Austin recorded 2 inches to 3 inches of ice accumulation and as the storm moved northeast many areas recorded their greatest single storm snow totals ever. Minneapolis recorded more than 28 inches and Duluth recorded 36.9 inches, marking the greatest single storm snow total in state history at that time. Snow fell in Duluth for 72 straight hours. Moderate snow was reported for 15 straight hours.
The storm originated in southern Texas as an area of low pressure. It proceeded to track northeast and strengthened quickly as it approached the upper Midwest. This particular track allowed large amounts of moisture to be carried along with the storm and when combined with cold air already in place in Minnesota the result was heavy snow.
Following the passage of the storm, cold air wrapped in from the north. Record lows were recorded in Bemidji on five of the first eight days of November, bottoming out at 9-below on Nov. 4, 1991.
Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation director.
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org