Halloween Blizzard of 1991
For those of us that are old enough every snowstorm or blizzard will be compared to the Halloween Blizzard of 1991. I was a full time dairy farmer at the time and I will never forget the Halloween Blizzard of 1991. I have received a couple emails from listeners asking about the storm. I guess they are old enough to remember too! I searched the internet and came across an article from the Minnesota State Climatology Office with the "official" records. The old records were from 1891 to 1990. By the way, all of these records still stand today!
Most single storm total 28.4 inches old record 21.1 set in 1985
24 hour snowfall in any season 21 inches old record 18.5 inches in 1982
Most snow on October 31 8.2 inches old record .4 inches in 1954
Most snow on November 1 18.5 inches old record 3.6 in 1941
Most snow in October 8.2 inches old record 5.5 inches in 1905
Earliest 8 inch snow 8.2 inches old record 8.5 inches on November 8, 1943
Earliest autumn below zero minus 3 old record November 11, 1986 minus 1
When you experience a major weather event we all have personal stories that are interesting. I will never forget the day before the storm combining corn. It was a beautiful fall day, clear skies and temperatures in the 50's. The forecast was calling for rain, maybe heavy and some snow. The morning of Halloween was warm too as I was combining corn. Early in the afternoon it began to snow a lot and the northwest wind was really blowing.
The National Weather Service had changed the forecast to a winter storm warning and than a blizzard. The farm lost power but I had a stand by generator. At that time the generator hook-up with the double pole double throw switch was on the main REA pole in the middle of the yard. That John Deere 4020 ran full throttle outside in a whiteout blizzard for 24 hours straight. The air filter and cleaner began plugging up with snow. I took out the air filter and let is suck the snow into the combustion chamber.
It kept running shooting sparks up into the night sky. I plugged in another tractor as a back up. I was going to run the 4020 until it stopped. Then I would put the next one on the generator. The other issue we had was temperatures dropped to about 10 below zero. We did not have any number one diesel fuel and number two would gel up at those temperatures! We always used number one in the winter but who is thinking about those temperatures in October?
Fortunately our neighbor called as the winds were dying down and he said he had some number one diesel we could borrow and blend in to keep the 4020 running. Twenty four hours later the power came back on. When it warmed up I changed the oil in the 4020 and put in a new air filter. It is still running today. That 4020 is sure a tough old tractor! I will also remember the next day seeing some of our corn we did not get harvested before the storm. The snow had drifted in deeper that the ears on the stalks!
Many people though the storm that dropped 8 inches in Faribault about 2 weeks ago a big storm. Trust me, it was nothing compared to the Halloween Blizzard of 1991. I could go on and on with memories about that storm. I am sure if you lived through it you could too, especially if you were a farmer! Just one more memory. That night of course I stayed at the farm. I would set the alarm for every hour to wake up to see if the 4020 was still running in the blizzard.
I would doze off, wake up and realize the lights were still on. The 4020 was still running! I would say a little prayer, Thank you Lord! That 4020 sure was and still is a tough old girl!