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Articles / Halloween Blizzard (1991)

Page updated: May 19, 2015

The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 was a winter storm that brought heavy snow and ice to the upper mid-west.

It began on the 30th as a low pressure system off the Texas Gulf Coast.

Unseasonably cold air was already in place, thanks to a strong arctic cold front that passed through the area several days prior.

Additionally, there was a large dip in the jet stream, which helped deepen the low and bring in plenty of gulf moisture.

With the "Perfect Storm" spinning off the east coast, the storm had no where to go but north.

Storm track

By Halloween, the storm had become better organized and began its track northward.

The next day, the low had moved into Illinois and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where its central pressure dropped 24 millibars in 24 hours.

During this time, snow was falling over eastern Kansas, eastern Nebraska, east-central Minnesota, and northwestern Wisconsin.

Omaha, Nebraska picked up a record (for the day) 5.7 inches from the storm, after receiving up to an inch of ice.

Minneapolis picked up a record (for the day) 8.2 inches.

While folks to the west of the low were experiencing heavy snow, folks closer to the low were experiencing heavy ice.

Parts of southern Minnesota and Iowa, along Interstate 90, received as much as 2-3 inches of ice.

This resulted in many roads being closed in the affected areas.

The snow and ice also brought down power lines in many areas.

While the snow machine was winding down in cities like Omaha, it was just getting started in cities like Minneapolis.

By storm's end, the Twin Cities received a record 28.4 inches.

Most of that occurring in a 24 hour period.

This storm, and the others that followed it, helped Minneapolis break a monthly record of 46.9 inches of snow.

To help put that into perspective, the Twin Cities average 53.6 inches of snow for the entire season.

The highest storm total, though, was found in Duluth, Minnesota, where they received a record 36.9 inches.

The Weather Channel covering the storm:

Keith Westerlage, with the low in central Arizona


Vince Miller, with the low in southern New Mexico


Bill Keneely, with the low in northern Arkansas


Bill Keneely, with a look at radars


Jeanetta Jones, with the low in northern Arkansas


Keith Westerlage, looking at temperature departures and radars


Terri Smith, with the low over central Wisconsin


Marc Mancuso discussing the aftermath of the storm