The National Weather Service reports that on December 11, 1911, a storm dropped a whopping 55 inches of snow over a 24 hour period. This record-breaking event made headlines and was reported by numerous weather stations across the country. In fact, this storm was so powerful it even caused trains to be delayed from Chicago to New York. Considering this significant amount of time has passed since then, many people have been wondering if any other storms have surpassed the 55-inch mark for most snowfall in one day. To answer those questions we contacted Mike Halpert at the National Weather Service who told us that there are no records that come close to matching this record-breaking amount of snow.
“We have a lot more people recording the weather now, so we keep pretty accurate records,” Halpert said. “While it’s not impossible for there to have been some other storm that dropped more snow than the 1911 event, since those were local sticks and many places had no reporting stations at that time, we consider the 55 inches to be the all-time record for North Dakota.”
Even though this historic storm was reportedly the state’s heaviest amount of snowfall, it is not even close to being remembered as one of the biggest blizzards in North Dakota. In fact, NWS meteorologists can’t find any record of a blizzard with wind speeds higher than about 60 miles per hour.
“The ’55 inches in 24 hours’ was a freak event,” Halpert said. “It probably ranks as one of the 100 or so the biggest snowstorms in terms of snowfall, but it doesn’t even rank in our top 10 biggest blizzards.”
While this snowstorm was pretty significant at the time, it’s important to note that weather reports were much less accurate back then. Halpert told us that this storm would almost certainly not happen again today because of how quickly meteorologists would be able to identify and track such a powerful event.