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John Wheeler, Published February 11 2013

Weather Talk: Record single-storm snowfall in F-M was 24.5 inches in 1989

How much snow could we potentially get from a single snowstorm on the northern Plains? National single-storm snow records mostly come from mountainous regions or downwind from the Great Lakes, where local geography can contribute to ridiculous snowfalls of 5 feet or more.

The record single-storm snowfall in Fargo-Moorhead was in January 1989, when we were buried under 24.5 inches. During that storm, there were two separate two-hour periods in which snow fell at a rate of 3 inches per hour.

Record single-storm totals from across the Great Plains region suggest that snowfalls of up to 4 feet are possible, although rare. The Halloween blizzard dropped 36 inches on Duluth. A snowstorm dumped 45 inches on Gettysburg, S.D., in 1994, and a storm dropped 47 inches across northwest Iowa in 1965.

Such a storm in Fargo-Moorhead is certainly possible, but it would take nearly perfect snow conditions.


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