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Iowa History Daily: January 26 - The Blizzard of 1996

Iowa History Daily: On January 26, 1996, one of the largest blizzards to ever rip across the state dropped over a foot of snow throughout the state. In Des Moines, 13.7” followed thunderstorms and hail as winds in excess of 60 mph roared.

After developing over the Texas panhandle, the rapidly moving front stormed toward Iowa. Arriving over southern Iowa during the early afternoon, the storm moved north-by-northeast while oscillating between snow and rain as temperatures plummeted. Large hail hammered down along the dividing line between snow and rain.

As a steady north wind whistled at between 30 and 40 mph throughout the state, a steady snowfall of up to three inches per hour poured from the skies. As the storm moved out of the state during the evening and overnight hours, many locations reported snowfall well over a foot with Dorchester leading the list at 16.5”.

In Decorah, a woman gave birth stuck in her home. A Belle Plaine man died while stranded in his car. Winds stayed intense into the following day causing complete whiteout conditions, and Governor Terry Branstad declared a state of emergency as snow plow crews and electric linemen scrambled to keep up with the damage. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily


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