Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Reading the Sunday paper is a Sunday thing and when it came and went because of a priority project, I didn't lament. I could, after all, read my favorite cartoon on line.

Yet, yesterday, while using newspaper to fill in a box, the mid section front page caption was


It had nothing to do with Shakespeare or Miss Barzen. This was a real live blizzard that hit on Saturday, March 15 in 1941.

The In-forum had looked back on the blizzard and the cost of lives on this surprise storm. The day started out sunny and 30 degrees. Around six in the evening, wind speeds at Grand Forks were 85 mph. Seventy-two people died, most of them frozen. One little boy actually died when the strong winds took the breath right out of him as his dad carried him home.

It tells of four brothers who went to town to go roller skating. The oldest two, 17 and 15 where found the next day. A short distance away, the searchers found a waving hand. Although the twin waving his hand died, his brother survived.

Another group of seven where stranded in the ditch on Highway 75 south of Moorhead. The stayed with the car and all survived as did a man of 60 and his son who buried themselves in the snow and kept kicking their feet to stay awake and warm.

In today's standard's the mechanics of weather watching and public notice have come a long way since then. Recently, a friend wrote to say we were in a blizzard. I looked out all windows and didn't see a thing. The paper was saying BLIZZARD. Cancellations abound. It must have been much like that day in 1941, clear sky, mild temperatures. The only thing different is they kept harping about the blizzard.

Yet, although informed, more than 800 people where rescued from stuck vehicles. Most of the cars where within 75 miles of Bismarck, which is central North Dakota. It is said it settled in quickly. And yes, I am going to think those stranded folks thought they could beat it out. Makes you wonder if they went around those 700 miles of roads that where closed.

Although it sounds like a crime scene scenario, they actually did use a helicopter with a heat sensing unit to find people stranded in their vehicles.

I was telling someone recently that if my mother got wind of a storm coming it, she had to make a trip to town to get 12 loaves of bread at the bakery so we would have enough, even though none of us ate much bread, except for toast.

So there is, in real life, a story about the Ides of March, right here in North Dakota.


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