Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Remembering the Halloween Blizzard

This week marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Halloween Blizzard of 1991.
  Memorable to the history of Minnesota and, to a lesser degree, Sherburne County.  We have witnessed Mother Nature and her ability to inflict significant turmoil in our lives, with blizzards, flooding, tornadoes, and other catastrophic events. 

Transportation by any means possible during the 
1991 Halloween Blizzard.  photo courtesy of Elk 
River Star News collection
The Halloween Blizzard is one of these events that inflicted significant challenges into the lives of Minnesotans.  Like the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940, the Halloween Blizzard started as an innocent snowstorm.  Suddenly it erupted into something so much greater.  Record snow fell in 1991.  In a 24-hour period, Duluth recorded more than 24 inches of snow.  Sherburne County recorded an estimated 16 inches.  The Elk River Star News also reported snow drifts as high as fifteen feet.  The twin cities recorded 21 inches of snow.  Ice and record cold followed the snowstorm. 

In the end the storm caused $63 million in damages throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.  20 individuals died in Minnesota because of the storm.  In Sherburne County, the newspaper and police reported few damages.  According to the Star News, only two traffic accidents occurred because most people chose to stay indoors to wait out the storm.

This week, we need to remember the events of 1991 and appreciate the power of Mother Nature.  She can creep up on us and provide an interesting surprise when we least expect it.

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