FARGO — Already the snow from this past weekend's blizzard is melting from central North Dakota to western Minnesota, though the heavy snow that fell in some spots over several days will not soon be forgotten.

Another storm that earned a place in the annals of local weather history was a blizzard that struck the region March 2-5 in 1966.

While the most recent blizzard was not lethal, the 1966 storm was blamed for 18 deaths across the Great Plains, five of them in North Dakota and four in Minnesota.

Aside from the fatalities, how do the two storms stack up against each other?

The latest blizzard lasted from Thursday, Oct. 10, through Saturday, Oct. 12, bringing lots of snow, with cities like Langdon and Devils Lake in North Dakota receiving 27 inches and 17 inches of snow, respectively.

This photo was taken in the Langdon, N.D., area during the recent storm to hit North Dakota and Minnesota. Courtesy the National Weather Service and Corey Hofarth.
This photo was taken in the Langdon, N.D., area during the recent storm to hit North Dakota and Minnesota. Courtesy the National Weather Service and Corey Hofarth.

In addition, Devils Lake experienced winds of 61 mph on Friday.

The Fargo-Moorhead area reported snowfall totals from 4-5 inches and a top wind speed of 52 mph during the stormy weather.

The National Weather Service described the storm as "crippling" and for a time there was no travel in many parts of North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.

In the 1966 storm, snow began falling in North Dakota the morning of March 2 and spread northward into the next day.

In Fargo, the visibility remained one quarter mile or less for more than 30 consecutive hours from March 3-5, combined with northerly winds gusting more than 40 or 50 mph, according to National Weather Service reports.

Across the region, snowfall totals reached higher than 36 inches, with drifts 30 to 40 feet high in some spots.

In the 1966 storm, Grand Forks, received 27.8 inches of snow, with 17 inches falling on March 4 alone. Devils Lake recorded 30.5 inches of snow from that blizzard while Fargo reported 15.4 inches of snow.

Unlike previous killer storms, the March 1966 storm remained relatively mild in the temperature department, with the mercury staying in the 20s for much of the storm, dropping to the teens near the end of the storm.

During the latest storm to strike the region, high temperatures remained in the low 30s.

According to the National Weather Service, a few of the fatalities linked to the blizzard in March 1966 were the result of overexertion from shoveling, while other deaths were caused by people becoming disoriented and lost while out in blizzard conditions.

In addition, thousands of livestock deaths were attributed to the storm.

John Wheeler, chief meteorologist for WDAY TV, said the 1966 storm kept people indoors for four days, whereas the most recent storm was in full force for two days.

Also, Wheeler said the overall area covered by at least a foot of snow in the 1966 storm was larger than the most recent storm, and he said the 1966 storm caused zero visibility for two to three days straight in some places.

"This (most recent) storm produced a few visibility areas down below a quarter mile, but nowhere was it sustained at zero visibility for hours at a time," Wheeler said. "On the other hand, this storm came early when many were unprepared for winter. The heavy, wet snow broke tree limbs covered in leaves and it was a pretty bad storm in it's own right, just not as serious as 1966."