South Dakota February 21, 2017
A Massive Blizzard Blanketed South Dakota In Snow In 1997 And It Will Never Be Forgotten
If you feel like we’ve had a tough winter here in South Dakota, you can be grateful that it’s nowhere near as bad as the epic blizzards of the 1996/1997 winter.
On January 9, 1997, a massive blizzard swept across South Dakota.
South Dakota residents had seen their share of blizzards, so initially people ignored warnings to stay home and off the roads.
One woman was rescued from her truck after spending 40 hours in the cold.
51-year-old Karen Nelson made national news when she was rescued from her truck after spending 40 hours huddled in a sleeping bag and blankets inside her truck. She had tried to make the 12-mile drive from Roslyn to Webster to get home from work, but her truck slid off the road and into a ditch. She used her cell phone to alert authorities and guide them to her location.
Black ice created a 19-car pile-up on I-29.
One vehicle lost control, and a domino effect ensued. Luckily, no one was badly hurt, but it was like an ice rink on the freeway. Other drivers in accidents all over the state weren't so lucky - many were injured. Authorities warned that people who were stuck might wait for a long time for rescue. It became such a mess to dig people out and deal with accidents, that they threatened to fine folks who ignored travel warnings.
The blizzard closed down I-90 and I-29.
Icy conditions and snow drifts up to 20 feet tall made travel along the Interstates impossible.
Gusting winds dropped visibility to zero in some places.
Travel was basically completely shut down all over the state.
Local roads were closed for as long as two weeks, as authorities tried to dig out and de-ice them.
In many places, continuing wind made it impossible to dig out roads.
On January 10th, record-breaking temperatures fell to 12 below zero.
With temperatures so low, it was dangerous to be outside.
High winds gusted up to 50 mph, affecting power lines.
With such low temperatures, residents suffered without power to their homes.
As many as 100,000 cattle died during the storm.
Freezing temperatures and lack of access to food and water killed thousands of cattle. Livestock losses were estimated in the millions of dollars.
Do you remember the blizzard of 1997?
Tell us about your experience in the comments!
Take a look at this news footage from 1997, posted by ntscbuff on YouTube.
For more epic South Dakota disasters, take a look at