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30 YEARS LATER: Northlanders remember the ‘91 Halloween blizzard

Halloween blizzard 1991 in Duluth, MN
Halloween blizzard 1991 in Duluth, MN(kbjr cbs)
Published: Oct. 31, 2021 at 7:40 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - On October 31st, 1991, the northland was hit by the famous Halloween blizzard that dumped nearly 40 inches of snow.

Thunder, lightning, 40 miles per hour winds, and lots of snow still hold the record for the largest single-day snowfall in Duluth.

Tim Velner remembers that day well. At the time, he was a science teacher at Duluth East.

“I’d never seen anything come so unexpected because there were reports that a storm was coming but nothing like what we had. And never so soon, I mean you looked out on November 1st and realized winter is here, and it didn’t leave until April,” Velner said.

Halloween blizzard 1991 in Duluth, MN
Halloween blizzard 1991 in Duluth, MN(kbjr cbs)

The three-day storm canceled school for days, and Velner was worried about the pets in his classroom.

Velner trekked to the school to feed the animals, but on his way back, he said the amount of snow outside was beyond comprehension.

“This was a winter blizzard in the middle of fall,” Velner said. “At that storm, the world stopped for four days.”

Longtime Northland meteorologist Dave Anderson was forecasting that day.

He said despite the nearly 3-foot accumulations, his best memory was seeing communities lending a hand in unique ways.

“A lot of people got home from work that night too thanks to some volunteers on park point with snowmobiles that buzzed around town and took people home by sled as well, so when the snow starts coming, northlanders get ingenious, and they come up with ways to get through it all,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the greatest success during the blizzard was the ability of local weathercasters to get information out while keeping the northland area safe, leaving the community virtually unscathed.

Anderson added even with newer technology; Northland weather can always keep you on your toes.

“Despite the best technology, nature can still throw in a monkey wrench once in a while,” Anderson said.

For Anderson and Velner, even after 30 years, the Halloween blizzard will never be forgotten.

“It’s just a unique thing, and those things stick with us,” Velner said.

Halloween blizzard 1991 in Duluth, MN
Halloween blizzard 1991 in Duluth, MN(kbjr cbs)
Halloween blizzard 1991 in Duluth, MN
Halloween blizzard 1991 in Duluth, MN(kbjr cbs)

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