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Iowa History Daily: December 27 - A Snowstorm for the Ages

Iowa History Daily: On December 27, 1941, one of the largest snowstorms in Iowa’s history arrived to start dumping a 7-day record of 26.2” of snow on the state’s capital of Des Moines. For over a week straight snow fell to drop totals exceeding two feet on locations stretching from Clarinda to Cedar Falls.

The first few days after Christmas saw consistent flurries slowing down post-holiday traffic for Iowans as newspapers predicted steady declining conditions as a major storm slowly moved toward the state to close out the year. Several inches of snow accumulated as temperatures plummeted before the storm accelerated heading into New Year’s Eve. 

Overnight and into January 1 the snow fell fast and furious to stack up the largest single-day total ever recorded in the history of Des Moines at 19.8 inches. Bone-chilling winds rode into Iowa on the back of the storm pushing temperatures to as low as -25 in parts of the state. Ames, one of the larger single-day totals recorded, saw over an inch per hour accumulate over a 24-hour span.

As plows struggled to clear the roads, the storms grounded all air traffic while physicians struggled to reach patients. An enterprising doctor in Creston set out on a bobsled to deliver a baby at a farm six miles out of town. At least three Iowans died in the storm, two from car accidents and one in a railroad switching incident in locations including Des Moines, Iowa City, and Dubuque. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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