30th Anniversary of 1991 Halloween Blizzard in Minnesota – WJON News


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UNDATED -- This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Halloween Blizzard in Minnesota.

Climatologist Pete Boulay was a student at St. Cloud State University during that 1991 snowstorm.

He says it was a Thursday on Halloween and the National Weather Service had issued a Winter Storm Watch that morning, so they knew a big storm was coming.

There's no doubt about it.  A cold front that swept across the state a few days before really set the stage for the Halloween Blizzard, because the cold air was already in place.  On the 30th of October, St. Cloud had a high of 30 degrees, so we already had the cold air, all that was missing was the moisture.

The precipitation wasn't expected to start off as snow right away.

A lot of people were expecting a cold rain for Halloween, and instead, it started off as snow.  St. Cloud wound up with 3.1 inches of snow by midnight and the Twin Cities already had 8.2 inches by midnight, so I was already disappointed St. Cloud was not going to get the most snow from this storm.

Boulay says after St. Cloud had 3.1 inches of snow by midnight on Halloween, it kept snowing the next day on Friday, November 1st with another nine inches of snow. St. Cloud ended up with a three-day total of 13.2 inches of snow.

Boulay says the next morning on Friday, November 1st classes at SCSU started out running on time.  But, as the day went on the Twin Cities started shutting down and afternoon classes at SCSU were called off.

It ranks as the 15th biggest snow event on record in St. Cloud.

The Twin Cities had a total of 28.4 inches and Duluth was the big winner with 36.9 inches of snow over three days.

While it was a big snow event for us here in Minnesota, it also goes down at Iowa's worst ice storm on record.

Boulay says probably just as notable was the extreme cold that moved in after the snowstorm with several nights of below zero lows and daytime highs in the teens.

However, all of that snow did melt by Thanksgiving only to have another major snowstorm on Black Friday of that year.  The rest of the winter was pretty dry and quiet.

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