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Blizzards past stir up snowy memories in summer

Nothing like shoveling up memories of blizzards on a day that is in the middle of summer. But maybe these stories will help cool you off. Don King, Fargo, sends a story about the March 1944 blizzard that was published by the Great Northern Railwa...

Nothing like shoveling up memories of blizzards on a day that is in the middle of summer. But maybe these stories will help cool you off.

Don King, Fargo, sends a story about the March 1944 blizzard that was published by the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. Among the items in that story are these:

"The GN's Surrey line (between Fargo and Minot, N.D.) experienced the greatest winter buffeting in the history of the railroad. It was here that hard-packed snow was deposited to a depth of 35 feet in long drifts.

"For an approximate period of 56 hours, all train movements in eastern North Dakota were at a standstill.

"During the night of March 5, freight train 97 was trapped in a huge drift at Niagara, N.D., blocking the Devils Lake-Grand Forks line, the only east-west main line that had been operational.

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"Just being out of doors was risking death. At Grand Forks, the survival factor for humans in the storm at one time was estimated at 15 minutes.

"When ranchers were able to get to their cattle on the ranges, many had to break ice off the heads of the survivors so the beasts could open their mouths to eat."

James Korynta, Florissant, Mo., and a native of Ardoch, N.D., writes that he was in the Air Force stationed at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, at the time of the blizzard.

"We were sent to Grand Forks to help repair snow removal equipment," Jim says. "We landed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base about an hour after the runway was officially opened."

Jim worked at the base about two weeks. He was transferred there three months later.

He also brings up the 1941 blizzard and recommends a book about it: "Looking for Candles in the Window: The Tragic Red River Valley Blizzard of March 15, 1941," by Douglas Ramsey and Lorry Skroch.

But back to memories of the '44 storm. These come from Larry Gauper, Fargo, now retired from North Dakota Blue Cross Blue Shield and who formerly worked in radio.

"Our daughter was just a year old and we were living in Valley City" during that storm, Larry writes.

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"I was the morning man at Bob Ingstad's KOVC station and tried to make it to work.

"My Ford Custom 500 got stuck in a snow bank about a block from our apartment in southwest Valley City.

"So I walked back home and called Karl Limvere. He was a station employee and announcer living not far from the station in the downtown area. He was able to walk over and sign on for the day.

"Meanwhile, I think I went back to bed."

Not a bad plan in a mid-winter storm, Larry.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com

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