November 11

From NWS
1940
: An unusually severe early season winter storm dubbed “The Armistice Day Blizzard” struck northern Iowa on November 11-12 with heavy snow, high winds, and bitter cold causing widespread damage and suffering. Primghar reported a storm total of 17.0 inches of snow while Cushing received 13.0 inches and Estherville and Sanborn 12.0 inches each. As a cold front passed through with the storm the temperature plummeted rapidly, by as much as 30 degrees in two hours at some locations, and on subsequent days reached such cold levels that a number of stations reported record low temperatures for so early in the season. The timing of the storm which came at the end of a holiday weekend meant that many people were caught away from home and unprepared for winter weather of this magnitude. Automobile accidents, stalled cars, frozen radiators, and snow drifts over the roads made travel nearly impossible as the storm moved through. Seven people were killed in Iowa, including three whose small plane crashed into Spirit Lake and four hunters who were caught in duck blinds along the Mississippi River and drowned or died of exposure. In neighboring states, especially Minnesota and Wisconsin, there were higher numbers of fatalities amongst hunters as unusually large numbers of ducks were observed on the morning of the 11th and many went out to hunt them and were caught unprepared in the storm, eventually freezing to death. A total of 154 people were killed across the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. Large numbers of livestock perished in the open fields with nearly 4,000 cattle, sheep, and hogs estimated to have been lost. The greatest loss of farm animals was turkeys with between 150,000 and 200,000 of the birds frozen or smothered. It was also estimated that 10 to 15 million bushels of corn were lost in Iowa.

1911: The infamous “Great Blue Norther” or “11/11/11 Blue Norther” swept across the Great Plains and upper Midwest then later into the eastern United States. As the powerful cold front raced across the region a few strong thunderstorms developed across far southeastern Iowa with a tornado tracking just northwest of Davenport. However, the most notable aspect of this system was the incredible drop in temperature that accompanied the front. Several locations throughout the central U.S. especially in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois set both daily record high and low temperatures within a 24 hour period. These sharp temperature changes were most pronounced in regions where the cold front passed through during the afternoon and evening after ample time had passed during the daytime hours for heating to occur. Across most of Iowa the front moved through during the morning so temperatures were never able to climb very far, but in southeastern Iowa the 11th started clear and warm with the temperature rising into the 70s at many stations by early afternoon. Between noon and 2 pm the cold front swept rapidly through that corner of the state and rain began then changed over to sleet then snow with blizzard conditions reported in some areas as strong northwesterly winds followed the front. At Keokuk the temperature peaked at 79 F at around noon before the cold front moved through, then fell 37 degrees in just one hour between 1:55 pm and 2:55 pm and another 28 degrees to just 14 F by midnight with an inch of sleet falling during the afternoon and evening. The high temperature in Keokuk the following day was only 17 F which is 62 degrees colder than their high on the 11th. At Albia an observer noted that the temperature rose to 72 F by mid-morning, then the front moved through with rain changing to snow and blizzard conditions ensuing as the temperature fell all the way to 5 F by 9 pm making a drop of 67 degrees in just under 12 hours. At Burlington the temperature fell from 77 F in the early afternoon to 10 F later that night. By the morning of the 12th temperatures had fallen below zero across northwestern Iowa and lows on this and the subsequent few days neared or broke records at numerous locations for the coldest temperatures on record so early in the season. In fact the coldest temperature of the entire month in Iowa was reached on the 12th when Guthrie Center recorded a low of -8 F.

 This Day in National/World Weather History …
 11 November 1911 → An amazing cold front swept through the central United States. Oklahoma City reported a record high of 83 degrees *and* a record low of 17 degrees. The temperature at Independence, MO plunged 50 degrees in just one hour.
 11 November 1940 → The Armistice Day storm on the Great Lakes caused the wreck of three ships and several small crafts with the loss of 69 lives. Sustained winds reached 81 mph. On the same day, a fierce blizzard hit the Canadian Great Plains.
 11 November 1987 → A Veteran’s Day snowstorm dumped 17 inches of snow on Washington, D.C.
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This post was written by Schnack on November 11, 2012