Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Friday, December 28, 2018

The Super Bowl Blizzard and Sherburne County


The first snow of each year generates discussion about the multitude of blizzards and snowstorms in Minnesota History.  We have the Armistice Day blizzard in 1940, the Easter blizzard in 1968, the Halloween blizzard of 1991.  And now we have the Super Bowl blizzard on 1975. 

The wet snow of January contributed to the challenges
of the Supper Bowl blizzard of 1975
Beginning January 9, and continuing for three days, rain, then freezing rain, then snow blanketed Minnesota.  Minnesota football fans christened the storm the Super Bowl Blizzard.  As the three-day deluge began to subside the Minnesota Vikings faced off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl IX. 

Locally, the Vikings loss went unmentioned as local reporters documented the snow storm.  Elk River reported a total of 13 inches of snow and wind up to 40 miles an hour after the three-day storm.  “The first indications of real trouble came when heavy sleet and ice coated electric wires,” the Elk River Star News reported.  “The extra weight coupled with high winds produced many broken wires.” 

As the blizzard continued, county officials determined to closed Highway 10 between Elk River and Big Lake.  “Unfortunately,” the paper reported, “the Highway 10 barricades blew down several times, and a number of trucks and motorists drove on into the teeth of the blizzard only to meet their Waterloo at the overpass between Elk River and Big Lake.”  The paper estimated 25 motorists were stranded during the storm.
View of the Elk River Alliance Church hints at the
depth of the many snow drifts from the blizzard

A particularly harrowing event during the height of the storm involved the medical evacuation of a young boy in Big Lake.  State snow plows and four-wheel drive vehicles were called into service to aid an ambulance in its journey to the Monticello Hospital.   According to the newspaper, the ambulance twice became stuck in snow drifts during the trip.  The boy’s hospital run ended with his delivery at the hospital from the cab of a snow plow. 

Lesser, not so life threatening, inconveniences also resulted from the storm.  The blizzard postponed Funeral services for four local residents in the Elk River area.  A movie fundraiser at the Methodist Church was rescheduled. 
 
Eventually the snow melted, and life went on.  Yet the snow storm of January 1975 entered the history books as the memorable Super Bowl blizzard. Ranked with the Halloween blizzard, the Easter blizzard and the Armistice Day blizzard, as eventful in the history of Minnesota weather.