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A Clash of Snow and Rain

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On this date in 1907, many North Dakotans experienced a storm that brought both heavy snow and heavy rain. Bismarck set a new record for precipitation, a record that still stands to this day. Elsewhere, the storm had other effects.

The Pioneer Express reported that there was heavy rain, rather than snow, in the small town of Milton in Cavalier County. This rain flowed into the Red River, which rose “two feet in twenty-four hours.” Flash flooding prompted some merchants to bring goods out of their basements in case they flooded.

At Fargo, the storm came in two waves. The first was a covering of snow early in the morning. Then, in the afternoon, the snow returned, this time with a lot of wind. The Fargo Forum commented that despite the dramatic, blizzard-like wind, the temperature was too warm for the snow to stay, and it melted quickly.

Valley City had a similar situation. The storm struggled to add much more snow than the three or four inches it already produced. Nonetheless, the storm disrupted farmers who already put seed in the ground, and further seeding would have to wait.

The storm also disrupted the telegraph line between Fargo and Jamestown. The sticky, wet snow clung to the wires and weighed them down. The Fargo Forum reported that “some half dozen of the wires on the main line of the Northern Pacific between here and Jamestown were either broken or so badly clogged that they could not be used.” The mere wetness of the snow and its subsequent melting ruined the electric current of the wires. Luckily for repairmen, the snow was gone by the afternoon so they could begin repairs. By the afternoon, the Northern Pacific telegraph was back in service.

The Bismarck Daily Tribune reported how at least one person was excited to see snow. “Uncle” Amos Robidou supposedly predicted the snowstorm two weeks ahead of time, and he predicted that a bigger snowstorm would hit on the 16th. It didn't happen.

Dakota Datebook by Jacob Dalland

Sources:

Bismarck Daily Tribune. 1907, April 7. Page 5

Bismarck Daily Tribune. 1907, April 16. Page 7

The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. 1907, April 6. Pages 1, 8, and 17

The Pioneer Express. 1907, April 12. Page 7

https://www.weather.gov/media/bis/04_APR_DAILY_BIS.pdf

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