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John Wheeler: The brutal winter of 1935-36 came during a decade of mild winters

Most of the Dust Bowl era winters in our region were mild and dry, with very little snow and many days well above freezing.

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FARGO — The winter of 1935-36 is now 87 years ago. Nevertheless, those who remember living through it surely remember the details of hardship. Across the entire region, it was a brutal winter; the worst of the 20th century over most of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. The blizzards were frequent and the cold was relentless. In Fargo Moorhead, the infamous streak of 37 days of zero degrees or colder continuously stands out as a rogue record with the second longest such streak a mere 11 days.

What people who remember that winter fail to remember is that of the 10 winters of the 1930s, that was the only brutally cold one. The following winter was slightly colder than average and fairly snowy, but most of the Dust Bowl era winters in our region were mild and dry, with very little snow and many days well above freezing. It was, in fact, a very cold winter in the middle of a very warm decade.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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