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Weather Talk: Great Gulf Coast blizzard of 1899

On this day in 1899, the temperature in Fargo-Moorhead rose to 6 degrees following 11 consecutive days of continuous subzero weather.

The heart of the arctic air was headed south, where it set many low temperature records which stand today. The temperature dropped to 22 below zero in Kansas City, minus 10 in Dallas and 2 below in Tallahassee, Fla.

The cold was so extreme that the Mississippi River froze over as far south as New Orleans and ice floes were reported flowing out the mouth of the Mississippi. A blizzard formed on the coast of Texas and dropped 1 to 2 feet of snow from Galveston to New Orleans to Mobile, covering everything with deep drifts which remained for days.

It is hard to imagine what hardships were incurred on Southern people who could not possibly have known how to deal with such conditions.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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