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Iowa History Daily: January 12 - All-Time Low

Iowa History Daily: On January 12, two important pieces of Iowa weather history occurred. In 1888, the “Children’s Blizzard” claimed the lives of at least 235 across the Midwest. In 1912, the town of Washta, Iowa, set the state’s all-time record for low temperature when thermometers reached -47 Fahrenheit.

The “Children’s Blizzard” arrived unexpectedly after unseasonably warm weather greeted Midwesterners following a few snowy days earlier in the month. As the storm raced eastward across the Great Plains and into Iowa, it claimed the lives of many throughout the region.

In more westerly states, many children walking home from school got caught in the storm and perished. In Iowa, where the storm arrived later, fewer casualties resulted but the storm still inflicted significant damage throughout the western and central portions of the state.


Washta, a community in Cherokee County, officially represents the ‘coldest spot in Iowa.’ When a cold-snap plummeted the mercury during 1912, the small northwestern Iowa town officially gained status when an observer recorded the temperature at -47 degrees Fahrenheit. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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