Early Season Blizzard on the Plains

October 29, 2001


Provided by: NOAA
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

It seems to be too early to be thinking about snow storms and blizzards, but the upper Mid West and Northern Great Plains experienced snow, cold air and strong winds late last week. Grand Forks, North Dakota, where the above photo was taken, received about 11 inches of snow, making this the worst October blizzard on record. The previous record was 8 inches in 1926. The unusual snow and cold resulted from a strong surface low pressure system, which deepened as it moved to the northeast over the Great Lakes on Thursday. A strong high pressure system over the southern Great Plains, in conjunction with the deep low, produced a strong pressure gradient, causing winds with gusts in excess of 50 mph over the north central US. The snow and 35 mph winds in Grand Forks covered some roadways with more than 2 feet of snow.

Photo courtesy of Gregory Gust, Grand Forks Warning Coordination Meteorologist.

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