Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published February 13 2013
90 years ago 'Black Dust Blizzard' roared through the area; winds topped 50 mphIt was 90 years ago today that one of the worst blizzards in modern times was moving through the region. It started as a weak Alberta Clipper that moved along the Rocky Mountains, reformed in Colorado and moved northeast into Minnesota. The blizzard started late in the day on February 12, and was at peak intensity in this area the next day. Although Fargo had a recorded snow depth of 7 inches, many other areas nearby had little to no snow cover.
The fierce wind in excess of 50 mph picked up dirt and mixed it in with the snow. The storm became known as the “Black Dust Blizzard” because of the black snow (snirt) that was spread well east into Minnesota and Wisconsin from the exposed soils in North Dakota.
Sadly, at least 20 deaths were blamed on the blizzard just in this area alone. Most died of exposure caught off guard by the rapidly changing conditions and bitterly cold temperatures that moved in with the storm.
This is one of many storms I will be talking about in my communiversity course coming up in March (the first three Sunday’s of the month) when I take a look at the significant weather events to impact this area. Here is a link for information on my course: