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Weather Talk: Many of the "best" blizzards happen in January

The climate and flat terrain of the northern Plains makes it susceptible to blizzards.

Some of the most severe blizzards in history have happened in January. These include the Pioneer Blizzard of Jan. 10, 1873, the Children's Blizzard of Jan. 12, 1888, and more recently a three-day blizzard from Jan. 9-11 in 1997.

Another famous blizzard in our region occurred during the second week of January 1975. That storm dumped over 20 inches of snow with wind gusts reported over 70 mph in parts of Minnesota.

The Fargo-Moorhead area received 6 inches of snow from that blizzard, but the extreme wind mixed dirt into the snow to create snirt. Drifts were brown.

That particular storm caused many Minnesotans to miss the Vikings play in the Super Bowl that year because of power outages, and therefore the storm is sometimes referred to as the Super Bowl Blizzard. The Vikings lost to the Steelers 16-6 on a cold, windy day at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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