January 1949 brought many weather challenges to North Dakota

January 1949, 65 years ago this month, brought many weather

challenges to North Dakota. It was a cold, windy, and snowy month with a lot of blowing and drifting snow. A blizzard on the 4th was especially severe.


The storm from the 3rd through the 5th brought 6.2 inches of snow and a full blown blizzard that lasted from the early morning hours of the 4th, through the day, and into the evening. Visibility was zero at times, and just 1/8 mile through most of that time period. A north wind gusted to 53 mph.


From the official Bismarck NWS record “Highways became blocked, city streets were heavy with drifts three to four feet deep. Yard feeding of livestock was necessary. Bus service and branch line trains only operated intermittently”.


Roads were being cleared by the 6th, but by the 8th, gusty winds and snow returned. “By noon all roads in the area were blocked and buses did not operate.” By the 12th roads were slippery but mostly cleared of snow. And then again, on the 15th and 16th, more snow and wind halted transportation. “The storm halted air stops here and most roads and highways were blocked.”


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