Armistice Day Storm
The first snow arrived in Milwaukee and around SE Wisconsin Wednesday afternoon and throughout the day on Thursday with parts of Dodge and Fond du Lac counties receiving up to 1-2” of snow. The rest of the area saw its first snowflakes or trace of snow. Milwaukee had a trace on Wednesday which is 12 days later than the average date of first trace of snow in Milwaukee. The average date of first measurable snow in Milwaukee is November 14.
On this date in 1940 was the Armistice Day Storm that pounded Minnesota and Western Wisconsin with a blizzard. While Milwaukee was spared most of the storm, that blizzard goes down as the #2 weather event in Minnesota for the 20th century. The Twin Cities had 16.7”of snow and western Minnesota they had 27” of snow and 80 mph winds that created 20 foot snow drifts.
The day actually started out very mild with temperatures in the low to mid 60s across the region and 50 degree temperature drops in the matter of hours were common in many Upper Midwest cities. The severity of the storm was not expected and many duck hunters were enjoying the mild conditions along the Mississippi River and were not dressed for the severe cold and winds.
In all, 145 people died in this storm….13 of them in Wisconsin.