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THE GREAT APRIL BLIZZARD OF '73!


Snow fell Friday in Cedar Rapids and much of my local area. I should have expected it because I was in Missouri and not around to see it. We have a standing joke in the weather office that I like snow so much that it avoids me. Somehow it always seems to find a way to slither around my presence. We now call Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area the black hole of weather due to this unique effect.

Anyway, with me gone Friday it did find a way to snow back home. Here are the observations from noon and 1:00 p.m. Proof to be sure!

While this is late for snow I would not say it is unusual. What is quite rare is the storm that hit on the same date 43 years ago. The blizzard that raged over parts of eastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin April 8th and 9th of 1973 was epic. 70 mph winds and up to 20″ of snow fell on a line from Bell Plaine to Dubuque and completely shut down traffic. Plows had been dismantled and the intense snowfall and winds caught everyone by surprise. The storm would have been spectacular by mid-winter standards but coming in April was a once in a century event and one that I consider Iowa’s perfect April storm. Things had to come together just right for such a late season blizzard. The surface map.