This week is the 55th anniversary of what is considered to have been the most powerful blizzard to strike the Great Plains during the 20th Century. From March 2-5, heavy snow and extremely persistent high wind whipped 1-3 feet of snow into 20-40 foot drifts across much of the Dakotas and Minnesota. One element that made the Blizzard of '66 so terrible was its persistence and duration. The storm raged for 3-4 days, depending on location, with wind speeds of 35-50 and gusts up to 70 mph.
At least 18 people died during the storm, several of whom became lost in the whiteout conditions just walking from a farmhouse to an outbuilding. A few storms in the past delivered higher death tolls, but those happened before modern forecasting techniques were available and broadcast communication was able to properly disseminate critical weather information like today.