Recent blizzards are no comparison to the one of 1966Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The drifts covered roof-tops, trains and trucks. It was 47 years ago, the "Blizzard of the Century" made its way across North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The drifts covered roof-tops, trains and trucks. It was 47 years ago, the "Blizzard of the Century" made its way across North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota.
The 1966 storm took everyone by surprise. For days it stormed, leaving behind unforgettable film and pictures. For 72 hours it raged.
Daryl Ritchison, WDAY Meteorologist: “Forty-two straight hours of zero or near visibility.”
Three days of crazy wind.
Ritchison: “Ninety miles per hour range, relentless hour after hour.”
Heavy snow; when it ended, drifts became the stories of folklore.
Ritchison: “When you literally had drifts as high as your house.”
The snow, several feet deep, would blanket North Dakota, a historic storm that left behind mountains of snow that piled up like never before or since.
Ritchison: “Literally 30 and 40 feet high drifts unseen before or since Europeans settled the area.”
The storm was slow moving. The pressure so low, it pulled moisture up from the Gulf and the Atlantic, resulting in a three day snowstorm for the history books.
Ritchison: “Famous scenes, drifts as high as power lines, trailer homes buried with snow, up to the second floor of classic farmhouses.”
A handful of people died in that storm, often from walking from the barn to their home or stranded in a ditch, but the historic loss came with North Dakota livestock.
Ritchison: “In the tens of thousands, close to 70,000.”
Some small towns in our region, farms would be unreachable for days. Clean up would take time. No one had the equipment in 1966 to handle a storm like this. Not just a blizzard, but a mega-storm, that would be the topic of family and church gatherings for decades to come.
And this weekend, as part of F-M Communiversity, Daryl will be talking about the historic blizzards of our time.