The weather preceding the blizzard featured a thick coating of powerdery snow from previous snow storms. The weather had warmed that morning, common ahead of arctic cold fronts. People carried on with the normal business of the day on January 12, 1888. One room school houses filled with children.
A forecast from the U.S. Weather Bureau warned "the snow will drift heavily today and tomorrow in Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin." There were few ways to communicate the limited information they had.
When the blizzard hit, the blowing and drifting snow was tremendous. Anyone caught outdoors unprepared quickly felt the grave danger with the bitterly cold air and plunging temperature. In all, 235 people lost their lives in that storm, including many children trying to walk home in the storm.
Today, a blizzard of that size would be clearly seen ahead of time. We avoid many trials of the past because of the technology of today, which should make many of us thankful in spite of the blowing snow and cold we endure each winter.
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Many of you are familiar with accounts of the Children's blizzard of 1888. It was 130 years ago tomorrow when a powerful blizzard swept through the northern plains with tragic results.