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Weather Talk: March blizzard is far from certain

It is a myth that there are always huge blizzards in March. In the distant past as well as in recent years, March has often passed without any blizzards at all. Of course, it is also true that some of our most severe blizzards in history have happened in March.

Across North Dakota, the benchmark for blizzards may well be the monster blizzard of March 3-6, 1966, when 1 to 3 feet of snow fell with winds 50 to 100 mph that built drifts 30 feet high.

But March is not the only month with a tendency to produce memorable winter storms. All of the cold months from October through April have produced at least a few severe blizzards.

Interestingly, the big ones are most common in three of the months; November, January, and March. November and March provide the greatest proximity of warm and cold as the seasons change. However, January is historically the month in which blizzards are most likely.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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