Remembering the Halloween Blizzard that Buried South Dakota and Minnesota
The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 hit the Sioux Empire with over 15 inches of snow and several days of cold. It was part of a huge weather system that also inspired the George Clooney movie The Perfect Storm.
The storm started with snow. Lots of snow. Then sixty-mile-an-hour winds showed up for the All Hallowes Eve parties. Sioux Falls ended up with drifts measured in feet.
Minnesota and Iowa took the majority of the ice with this system while Sioux Falls and most of South Dakota got the snow. Overall, according to Wikipedia, between the blizzard and the ice storm, 22 people were killed and over 100 were injured.
The snow was followed by days of bitter South Dakota cold. So, not only did we miss out on lots of candy that year, we got to huddle inside while our Terminator 2 costume went to waste.
Some interesting facts about the Halloween Blizzard of '91:
- Kids in Bismarck, North Dakota had to trick-or-treat in 10 below weather
- Over 100,000 people were without power across the Midwest
- Both I-90 and I-29 were closed
- Most of Iowa's crops were destroyed
- The storm hit on a Thursday and schools were still closed the following Monday.
- The storm caused over $63 million in damages ($131,274,484 in 2022 dollars)
In 2012, Meteorologist Shawn Cable from KSFY-TV did this great recap of the storm. Complete with some awesome video of Sioux Falls in 1991.
The storm was part of a bigger system that dumped snow all over the Upper Midwest. Duluth, Minnesota ended up with over 35 inches of snow!
In fact, this storm was set up, in part, by the weather patterns that caused the "Perfect Storm" that struck the East Coast of the United States, and was famously depicted in Sebastian Junger's book. Moreover, the "Perfect Storm" was beginning to wind down in the Northeast on Halloween, around the same time that Minnesota was starting to see heavy snow creeping in. To have two exceptional storms impacting the continental United States at the same time is quite rare. -NWS Duluth
Thankfully, this year's Halloween forecast looks a little tamer for Sioux Falls and the Upper Midwest with sunshine and daytime temperatures in the 60s and no snow.
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