Remembering the Blizzard of '66 that paralyzed the region for days

Kevin Wallevand looks back at the 1966 blizzard that decimated the Midwest and is called the worst storm of the 20th century.

Remembering the Blizzard of '66 that paralyzed the region for days 55-years ago

FARGO — The storm swept into the Dakotas and Minnesota and stayed for days. This week marks the 55th Anniversary of the 1966 Blizzard, that killed 18 and stranded hundreds.

After three straight days of wind and heavy snow people all across west central Minnesota and the Dakotas crawled out of their homes, to drifts 20-30 feet high, covering cars and homes.

Larry Skroch remembers trying to leave the house in Cogswell, ND. "And we had to dig our way out of the upstairs bedroom window to get in. The porch is on the west side and we stepped out of our parent's bedroom right on to the porch and started digging our way to the house," he says.

Larry Skroch and Doug Ramsey wrote the book: The Relentless Blizzard of 1966


"It was a perfect storm, it is an overused word but it that is what it was, everything came together in the storm system," Ramsey says.

The book is packed with incredible photos from that March storm.

"It was amazing (to see all the pictures), there were so many of them," Ramsey says.

Trains completely covered, livestock dead from the storm. Drifts so high clean up crews stood even with telephone lines.

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"You could see over the barn, the drifts were so high, never seen so much snow in my life, since then," Ramsey says.

So much snow, hundreds were stranded everywhere.

"In Karlstad, there was a farmer, he had 20-truckers there and you have to feed them and some guy had frozen meat. They were stranded there for days," Ramsey says.

In Grand Forks, 29 inches, 32 inches in Devils Lake. In Fargo there was 15 inches of heavy wet snow that collapsed the new Fargo North gym.

Banner headlines along with survivor stories and photos made the front pages of the daily papers. A once in a lifetime blizzard.

The storm would rage for three days and cleanup took weeks. The National Guard called out to help the region get back on its feet.


A storm called the worst of the 20th Century.

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Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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