75th anniversary of the Armistice Day snowstorm

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Source Sterns history Museum 

As we spend Veterans Day 2015 preparing for gusty winds and rain, Minnesotans were dealing with a similar, but much more deadly storm that happened 75 years ago. The Armistice Day Blizzard roared through the Upper Midwest on November 11, 1940. In case you were wondering, Armistice Day is now known as Veterans Day.

The day started off nice with some sunshine and temperatures in the 40s and 50s. That was the main issue as people have enjoyed a nice November and were not expecting such a snowstorm that day. The storm began later in the day and as the cold front passed, the winds increased and the rain changed to snow. In fact, since the day started off so nice, many people were out and about and dressed for mild weather, not extreme winter conditions. The storm raged on for 3 days dropping 12-16 inches of snow across central parts of the state with the highest total recorded at Collegeville, with 26.6”. Snow drifts up to 20 feet high were reported in Willmar as the result of winds that peaked at 80 mph.  

The Armistice Day blizzard claimed 49 lives in Minnesota. Among those that perished were 17 duck hunters that were caught off-guard by the mild 50s of the day. The storm did have one positive outcome. Information that came in after the storm helped strengthen the push to keep weather offices open 24 hours and even resulted in the Minneapolis-St. Paul weather office to become a full forecasting office.

Click through the slide show above for pictures and information on this historic storm.