January 12

From NWS1888: The infamous “Schoolchildrens Blizzard” struck the middle of the country from Montana and Wyoming to as far south as Texas and eastward to Minnesota and Wisconsin. The morning of January 12th was sunny and relatively warm across the region leading many to leave their homes for nearby towns or neighbors residences and children to dress for mild weather. As a strong low pressure system moved rapidly northeast from the lee of the Rockies into the upper Great Lakes it pulled a strong cold front rapidly down the Great Plains during the afternoon hours. Behind the front howling northwest winds sent the temperature plummeting by 30 to 40 degrees in just a few hours and ushered in heavy and blinding snow that paralyzed travel across the region. Many children were trapped at school for the night, or worse, ventured out in the cold and snow to attempt the homeward journey with many not surviving. The worst effects and highest fatalities from the storm were in Nebraska and what is now South Dakota but numerous fatalities were reported across Iowa as well, especially in western portions of the state. At Des Moines the official observer noted that strong winds overnight on January 12-13 caused “immense snow drifts in railroad cuts.”

This Day in National/World Weather History …
 12 January 1886 → Sub-freezing temperatures extended well south into Florida. Jacksonville reported a morning low of 15 degrees and a high of only 29.
 12 January 1888 → After relatively warm and quiet conditions early in the day, a severe blizzard charged out of the Canadian Rockies into the northern U.S. Plains, catching many people unaware. It became known as the Schoolchildren’s Blizzard since many of the 235 fatalities were kids who tried to find their way home from school and were trapped in the near zero visibility and temperatures dropping from just below freezing to -20 in a matter of hours. Snow amounts were not particularly heavy, but the snow was dry and powdery and easily blown by the strong winds.
 12 January 1974 → The highest wind gust recorded in Ireland was 125 mph at Kilkeel.
 12 January 1985 → A record snowstorm struck portions of western and south central Texas. Palm trees in San Antonio were blanketed with more than a foot of snow, more than was recorded the entire previous winter.
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Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on January 12, 2013