Today is the 20th Anniversary of the ’97 Blizzard
On April 4, 1997, a blizzard of disastrous proportions swept through North Dakota, dropping up to two feet of snow in some areas.
The "'97 Blizzard" came after the first three days of April brought warm temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Then on the afternoon of the 4th, snow began to fall at a rate of 1.5 to 2 inches an hour, while winds whipped at speeds around 50-60 mph. The snow didn't stop until early the next day, accumulating 17 inches in Bismarck.
The blizzard caused massive power outages and several road closures throughout the state, including I-94, I-29, and all major highways. It was estimated that 75,000 homes were without power for a weekend or even longer. Those who did have power were left without access to emergency information as commercial radio and television towers had iced over.
The storm killed 100,000 cattle and caused $21.5 million worth of damage to farm buildings. Hundreds of miles of transmission lines were taken out and thousands of wooden poles needed replacing. The blizzard would lead to severe flooding in eastern North Dakota
On April 7, President Clinton issued a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for North Dakota. Two days later, utility crews from surrounding states, including South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, and Wisconsin came to North Dakota to help restore power.
As we look back at the unfortunate events of the '97 Blizzard, we can certainly appreciate the warmer temperatures we've had recently.