The Blizzard That Caused 235 Deaths With Only 6 Inches Of Snow

On January 12, 1888, the so-called “Schoolchildren Blizzard” killed hundreds people, many of whom were children on their way home from school across the Northwest Plains region of the United States. The storm came with no warning, and some accounts say that the temperature fell nearly 100 degrees in just 24 hours. It was a Thursday afternoon and there had been unseasonably warm weather the previous day from Montana east to the Dakotas and south to Texas. Suddenly, within a matter of hours, Arctic air from Canada rapidly pushed south, and temperatures plunged. The blizzard was a “ground blizzard,” which doesn’t produce much snow but mobilizes snow on the ground to create whiteout conditions. With a total of just six inches of snow dropped by the blizzard, an estimated 235 people across the plains died in the storm, which is still considered one of the worst blizzards in the history of the area.