Halloween Megastorm: Where were you in ’91?

We’ve posted plenty about the Halloween Mega Storm that occurred 20 years ago today.

The Halloween Mega-Storm remains the all time biggest snow event in Twin Cities’ history.

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Halloween Mega Storm still #1. Note that the 5th, 10th and 15th biggest snowfalls have all occurred since 1991.

Here are some excellent resources if you dare to relive that day.

-My Halloween Mega Storm Story

-MPR “Big Story Blog”

-MN Climate Working Group Mega Storm review

-Duluth NWS Mega Storm review

-Top 20 all time biggest metro snowfalls

One of the amazing aspects of the Mega Storm was that it was what we call a “Gulf Storm.” Gulf Storms form as the center of low pressure tracks all the way south to near the Gulf of Mexico, instead of say a Colorado Low, Panhandle Hook or Alberta Clipper.

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Gulf Storms are rare for Minnesota and they produce the wettest heaviest snows because they suck up deep moisture form the Gulf of Mexico and charge almost straight north toward Minnesota and Wisconsin, wringing out heavy wet snow as moisture slams into the cold air dome over Minnesota.

Everyone has a weather story, and I’ve found that the Halloween Mega Storm is one of those events when everyone remembers where they were.

So where were you in ’91? Please share!


  • John O.

    We lived in central Wisconsin at that time. The weather was actually pretty good where we were at. As that day wore on, the Weather Channel folks were increasingly reporting on the snow accumulating in the Twin Cities.

    The next morning, I had to drive to the Twin Cities for business. What remains vivid in my mind was listening to a certain AM radio station that I could pick up around Menominee and they were in their full “don’t go out unless you absolutely have to” mode.

    I remember beginning to see some snow in the median of I-94 around Baldwin and some wet roads. I literally crossed the I-94 bridge into Minnesota and the roads were like a washboard since MNDOT trucks had put down salt, but nobody had driven over it, so the roads were very snow-covered and bumpy.

    What normally was a 25 minute drive from the border, turned into an hour. I made it to my appointment, but ended up going back midday. Eastbound to Wisconsin was somewhat better, but once I got to Hudson, it was a smooth drive the remainder of the distance. I’ve never encountered anything like that since.

  • Jody and Gary Halling

    On that day our furniture arrived from NH. in a giant moving van. As the day went on and the snow piled up. The floor and carpeting of the new house turned into mud. I had to unpack the towels to sop up the water. The moving men lost control of the dolly carrying the washing machine and it slid down the hill to the back yard. What a welcome to Minnesota!

  • Kurt Stafki


    This may not be the appropriate forum to ask this question, but why are the two JAN 1982 snowfall events deemed separate? It would make sense if it was two separate systems moving across the region, but 37.4 inches of snow in a four-day period is very impressive for the Twin Cities and I would think there would be some sort of connection. If it was, in fact, two systems, how did the second storm have enough energy and moisture to produce more snow than the first within a 48-hour period?

    I’ve done a bit of research on this but haven’t been able to find much detailing what happened between 20 and 23 JAN 1982. Perhaps this would be fitting for another blog post, as this JAN will mark 30 years since the storms?


  • Kassie

    I was 14 and trick or treating for the last time. It was a magical night. It was plenty warm to be out for hours, so we were. And without competition from the little kids, we scored a LOT of candy. We came back to my place, completely soaked to the bone and very tired from walking down unplowed streets and sidewalks. I was probably too old to be trick or treating, but I will always remember how fun it was.

  • kelly

    I was 4 and it was the day that I made the first joke that I remember. My pre-school teacher was dressed as a Wizzard, so for the entire 2 mile drive home that took forever, I continually announced to my mom, “It’s a Wizzard outside.” Thinking I was so clevere because wizzard sounded like blizzard. Unfortunately my mom felt the need to correct me and did not understand my 4 year old word-play humor.