The air felt mild and fine, and the warm sun teased people out of their frame houses, soddies and dugouts. " The Boston Daily Advertiser reported under the headline "Midnight at Noon" that "At Fargo....mercury 47' below zero and a hurricane blowing...At Neche, Dak.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Climate historians are quick to note that the “Children’s Blizzard” — so named because many of the victims were schoolkids trying to make it home — was not the most extreme blizzard ever to strike Minnesota. Hypothermia sets in as people trapped outdoors try to find shelter and warmth. Within a few hours, the advancing cold front caused a temperature drop from a few degrees above freezing to −20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 degrees Celsius) [−40 °F (−40 °C) in some places]. Additional information obtained from a handwritten letter to Ardyth Johnston written by Henry Royal Kampen prior to his death on October 18, 1976. People flocked to see the recent drawdown of the Mississippi River.
- The Schoolhouse Blizzard - History at BellaOnline Not all blizzards are mentioned here, not even all of the most severe. “It was a beautiful day for mid-winter and no one even thought of what a change an hour’s time could bring,” wrote Nobles County native Morton Bassett in a personal collection of pioneering stories. By definition, a blizzard is an extended, severe snowstorm.
Approximately 4000 people died. This occurs on the Atlantic side of Canada and East Coast of the USA. As a result, thousands of people—including many schoolchildren—got caught in the blizzard. Finally, though, on Jan. 12, 1888, the morning came with a gentle reprieve.
Carl Saltee, a teenage Norwegian immigrant in Fortier, Minnesota remembered that, "...on the 12th of January 1888 around noontime it was so warm it melted snow and ice from the window until after 1 p.m." This changed rapidly for the teenager who continued that by 3:30 p.m. "A dark and heavy wall builded up around the northwest coming fast, coming like those hevy [sic] thunderstorms, like a shot. The Children’s Blizzard, the Schoolhouse Blizzard, the Schoolchildren’s Blizzard.
", What made the storm so deadly was the timing (during work and school hours), the suddenness of the storm, and the brief spell of warmer weather that preceded it. In the long gaze of history, the powerful blizzard of Jan. 12, 1888 was a final exclamation point. Cars have to come to a complete standstill as they can drive off the road. On Jan. 11, the mass raced full bore across the United States, covering more than 780 miles in 17 hours. When the storm hit, it caught so many settlers by surprise that between 250 and 500 people died that weekend, according to estimates by newspaper editors in several states. Under the headline, “Midnight at Noon,” the Boston Daily Advertiser reported: At Fargo…mercury 47’ below zero and a hurricane blowing….At Neche, Dak. Fort Elliott, Texas, registered a 7-below-zero temperature on the 14th, and for the first time in anyone’s memory, parts of the Colorado River in Texas froze over.
In a ground blizzard, though no new snow is falling, the snow already on the ground is whipped up and around by the winds to where visibility is also close to zero.
On Jan. 17, the Minneapolis Tribune noted, “It is placing the number of fatalities at a low figure to say that at least 100 human beings lost their lives in dreaded storm within a 50-mile radius of Yankton” [South Dakota]. Box 18438 | Minneapolis, MN 55418 | 612.455.6950, Nobles County native Morton Bassett: "It was a beautiful day for mid-winter and no one even thought of what a change an hour's time could bring.
Norwegian immigrant Seselia Knutson became frantic when her husband, Knut, was trapped out in the blizzard. Laskin added: “Scores died in the weeks after the storm of pneumonia and infections contracted during amputations.”. A German immigrant named Herman Brueske walked to town on Jan. 11, but his frozen body wasn’t found in Renville County for another week. A late telegram arrived at Balatan, Minn., warning that a big blizzard would arrive in less than a hour. It has also become considerably easier to notify people of oncoming storms, with more reliable predictions and getting the word out quickly and effectively. By then, towns and farmers had to tunnel through the snow to get to livestock, wood for heating, and supplies.
A precise number has never been determined, but “undoubtedly many deaths were never reported from remote outlying districts,” wrote journalist David Laskin, author of “The Children’s Blizzard” (Harper Perennial, 2004). Almost every blizzard results in at least a few deaths, with some of the bigger ones resulting in hundreds of people dying.
Some of the rescued passengers experienced the tell-tale deliriums of prolonged hypothermia. The fast-moving storm first struck Montana in the early hours of January 12, swept through Dakota Territory from midmorning to early afternoon, and reached Lincoln, Nebraska at 3 p.m. Even without the whiteout conditions — climate experts call this zero/zero visibility — many people couldn’t see because the microscopic bits of ice literally froze their eyes shut. It severely affected the east coast, in states like New York and Massachusetts. A 36-year-old Scottish immigrant named James Jackson discovered his cattle herd just outside Woodstock.
–The Schoolhouse Blizzard in 1888 is different from the nor’easter and in some ways more heart breaking. People ventured from the safety of their homes to do chores, go to town, attend school, or simply enjoy the relative warmth of the day. 145 deaths were reported as a result of the 1,000 mile wide storm. No, police reform won’t be on Minneapolis voters’ ballots in 2020.
The most shocking and widely reported deaths were of the schoolchildren. Then on Jan. 5, 1888, a massive sleet storm coated the snowy drifts with treacherous ice, putting scores of restless farmers and schoolchildren under house arrest but for the most essential chores. In order to qualify as a blizzard, winds have to be at least 35mph and rage for a longer period of time—at least three hours or more. People were at the brink of starvation and train services stopped completely by January 1880 as no matter how often they cleared the tracks, another storm would come and cover them again. A few of the cows were living — just barely — but when Jackson got them back to the barn and thawed them out, their frozen flesh came off in chunks. The blizzard was preceded by a snowstorm on January 6th through the 11th of January, which dropped snow on the northern and central plains, and was followed by an outbreak of brutally cold temperatures from January 7th to 11th. ", Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society, Sheet music for “Song of the Great Blizzard: Thirteen, learn about all our free newsletter options, The 1940 Marlborough Hotel fire: ‘There was nothing that escaped the flames’, 150 years ago: U.S.-Dakota War ends at the Battle of Wood Lake, Why Paul Thissen isn’t waging a normal campaign for Minnesota Supreme Court. But 125 years later, it remains the most deadly, due to a tragic swirl of circumstances. Six children of James Baker froze to death while trying to make it home from school near Chester township, Minnesota.
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