Blizzard | Prairie Public Broadcasting


Eyes of an Angel

Nov 4, 2020

Blizzard stories with their themes of danger and beauty, such as this one experienced around Grassy Butte, North Dakota, are a staple of lore on the Northern Great Plains.

Blizzard Word Origin

Apr 13, 2020


We all know what a blizzard is, but we don’t know where the word came from.  The National Weather Service nowadays refers to a blizzard event, which means “sustained wind or frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 m.p.h.” accompanying “falling and/or blowing snow to frequently reduce visibility to less than 1/4th mile for three or more hours.” In the past, a blizzard meant fierce storms of wind and snow that lasted more like three days and three nights rather than three hours. If you have ever been out and about in a real blizzard, you already know what a “blizzard” means. Nonetheless, let’s explore the origins of the word.

There is the granite memorial, there is the song by Chuck Suchy, and there are countless commemorations of the sacrificial death of Hazel Miner, the Oliver County farm girl who died saving her brother and sister from the killer blizzard of 15-16 March 1920. There were others who died in that storm, however.

A House committee has added $8.1 million to the budget bill for the National Guard.

The money is designed to provide financial help for townships in non-oil producing counties for snow removal and flooding.

Rep.Don Vigesaa (R-Cooperstown) said the counties need the help.

"They had 80-100 inches of snow," Vigesaa said. "Now their roads are washing out."

Vigesaa said the counties are now dealing with overland flooding, affecting county and township roads.

Too Cold

Mar 26, 2019

North Dakota and South Dakota have been rivals for a long, long time. Congress created Dakota Territory in 1861, and Yankton eventually wrestled with Bismarck over being the territorial capital. The two states’ sports teams have also competed for supremacy for over 100 years. Oddly, in 1880 the rivalry ran fiercely hot over which state had the coldest climate.

Some state lawmakers are looking at potential financial help for cities and counties who have spent a lot of money on snow removal this winter.

"We're just being pro-active here," said Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman (D-New Rockford). "We want to make sure all opportunities while we're in session are made available to counties, cities and townships because of the intense winter we've had."

Heckaman said the snowplows have faced a lot of issues with the heavy snows some areas of North Dakota have received.

Blizzards are a bookmark in history for many North Dakotans. There’s the blizzard of 1920 that claimed the life of Hazel Miner near Center. She gave her life to shield and warm her two siblings from the cold. There’s the March blizzard of ’66, and then Blizzard Hannah, which preceded the Red River flood of ‘97. That one is comparable to BC and AD for Grand Forks residents – a true marker in time.

Operation Snowbound

May 4, 2018

This essay originated during the Good Friday Blizzard of 2018 on the northern plains, when the only person who still liked snow was my Labrador retriever. She has a coat like a bear, about two inches of body fat, and a serious case of cabin fever. (And yes, I realize I just referred to my dog as a “person,” what of it?)

Blizzard conditions begin the week for eastern N.D.

Dec 4, 2017

After seeing rain in eastern and central North Dakota much of the morning, National Weather Service officials say the precipitation is changing over to snow. Meteorologist Pete Speicher says the new moisture is part of an incoming weather system expected to create blizzard-like conditions for parts of the listening area…

"...this afternoon the winds are really going to jump up. By 3 p.m., about the time schools will be getting out, we're looking for 45 to 55 mile-per-hour gusts. The will blow any new snow around creating reduced visibilities."