Schoolhouse Blizzard

Schoolhouse Blizzard

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Schoolhouse Blizzard

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The Schoolhouse Blizzard, also known as the Schoolchildren's Blizzard or the Children's Blizzard, hit the U.S. plains states on January 12, 1888. The blizzard came unexpectedly on a relatively warm day, and many people were caught unaware, including children in one-room schoolhouses.

The blizzard of 1888

The blizzard was preceded by a snowstorm on January 5 and 6, which dropped powdery snow on the northern and central plains, and brought an outbreak of brutally cold temperatures from January 7 to 11. On January 11, a strengthening surface low dropped south-southeastward out of Alberta, Canada into central Montana and then into northeastern Colorado by the morning of January 12. The temperatures in advance of the low increased some 20–40 degrees in the central plains (for example, Omaha, Nebraska recorded a temperature of at 7 a.m. on January 11, while the temperature had increased to by 7 a.m. on January 12). The strong surface low rapidly moved into southeastern Nebraska by 3 p.m. on January 12 and finally into southwestern Wisconsin by 11 p.m. that same day.

The blizzard was precipitated by the collision of an immense Arctic cold front with warm, moisture-laden air from the Gulf of Mexico. Within a few hours, the advancing cold front caused a temperature drop from a few degrees above freezing to −20 degrees Fahrenheit (−40 °F/−40 °C in some places). This wave of cold was accompanied by high winds and heavy snow. ...
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