Monday, November 12th, 2012

When the snow didn’t stop

When Johnny let the dog out last night, he called to me, “It’s snowing.” This morning, the snow picked up again and at breakfast was still in the air and covering more of the leaves we haven’t yet raked.

Last night was November 11.

Two groups of Minnesotans probably shared the same thought as they looked out their windows this morning. The two groups are those who can remember November 11, 1940 and those who know some Minnesota history (I fall into only one of All Hell Broke Loose: Experiences of Young People During the Armistice Day 1940 Blizzardthose groups, and it’s not the first one.) The thought we shared was: November 11 . . . snow . . .the Armistice Day Blizzard.

The day started out with temperatures in the 60s. People in Minneapolis left their overcoats at home and many outstate hunters took advantage of the beautiful day to head out to their duck blinds–in light jackets. By midday, snow was heavy and temperatures continued dropping dramatically to as low as 30 degrees below zero before the blizzard ended.


Wings in the Wind:  The Armistice Day Storm of 1940At the end of 3 days, 49 Minnesotans were dead–and a total of 150 over a 5-state area.

Minnesota’s survivors continue to tell stories of those days–both from personal memory (also here) and in historical fiction.

The Armistice Day Storm is one of those events that remains as a historical landmark. It’s planted in Minnesota memory.



In the Grip of the Whirlwind: The Armistice Day Storm of 1940But now, mid-morning, the snow has stopped. The sun shines, then doesn’t from the sky that’s snowfall gray–an average late fall day in Minnesota. The forecast is for 30% possibility of light snow showers. Weather forecasting was changed as a result of the Armistice Day Storm, so we don’t expect a blizzard this Veteran’s Day holiday.

Of course, God is the one who knows for sure.

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3 Responses to “When the snow didn’t stop”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. What courage and character showed in the stories of the survivors! I’m giving thanks today for my Alabama home!

  2. Thank you for this post. I wrote my Dad out in sunny California(who was born and raised in Red Wing, and my mom who is from Hopkins) yesterday asking if he recalls that day in 1940. He is 84 and said “I sure do. Made a lot of money shoveling snow!” He is an avid reader so your suggested books are a nice addition and possibly a gift for him.

  3. Sarah from Canada

    I can appreciate a story like this. Where we live in Canada (north to many, but really not the true northern part of my country), similar storms come through multiple times a year. We’ve come to expect systems with twelve to eighteen inches of snow in a day with severe winds and plummeting temps, and I am thankful for the forecasting and warm homes we have … it can quickly become scary if you are out in this unprepared. I have seen things like in the pics – entire cars buried in the drifts.

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