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Incredible 1940 Armistice Day Storm | Weather Blog

Armistice Day, now called Veterans Day, featured a crippling storm in the center of the nation from northeast Kansas to Lake Superior in 1940. The storm that spanned the 11th and Nov. 12 claimed the lives of 154 people, several thousand cattle and millions of farmed turkeys. Many duck hunters have been caught off guard in the Mississippi River region of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was mild and pleasant just before the storm, then suddenly heavy rain and sleet came, followed by a change to heavy, wet snow. High winds and plummeting temperatures created a terrible situation. Widespread blizzard conditions were common in parts of Iowa and Minnesota and westward with huge snowdrifts clogging roads and making travel impossible. It was extremely treacherous on the waters of the Great Lakes with boats capsizing as well.

The La Crosse National Weather Service has put together an excellent page on this epic system, including links to many photos and newspaper articles about it. You can also dive into the meteorological aspects of the storm and see where the main snow band was and watch computer simulations of its development. See their page here.

Interestingly, an intense storm will cross the plains towards the Upper Midwest this week just before Veterans Day 2022. Hopefully it’s not as nasty as the one in 1940!

snow on the bush