Relive the 'Halloween Blizzard' Minnesotans can't stop talking about

The home video is awesome.
Publish date:
1991 Halloween blizzard snowfall totals map

Snowfall map of the 1991 Halloween Blizzard. 

Don't be stunned if a 6-year-old walks up to your door in full costume on Thursday and starts an elevator conversation with you about the 1991 "Halloween Blizzard."

No matter the age, Minnesotans can't stop talking about the 1991 Halloween Blizzard. And now, for a limited time only – not true, it's on the internet so it'll live forever – you can relive the 1991 Halloween Blizzard (it needs a shorter nickname so we can stop incessantly describing the year, holiday and event) thanks to the National Weather Service in Duluth providing a digital flashback

Duluth got smashed with 36.9 inches of snow, which was the all-time state record for a single storm until it got smashed by a 1994 storm that nobody talks about because it didn't happen on Halloween. From Jan. 6-8, 1994, Finland, Minnesota was buried in a ridiculous 46.5 inches of snow. 

For the record, the '91 event started Oct. 31 – four days after the Twins won the World Series – and wasn't completely out of here until Nov. 3. Over those four days it dumped 28.4 inches on the Twin Cities. 

Those totals varied slightly across the metro, but the largest single storm amount recorded at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport since the '91 blizzard was the 17.1-inch beast that made the Metrodome roof collapse Dec. 10-11, 2010. 

We digress. Back to the yet-to-be given shorter nickname 1991 Halloween Blizzard. 

It actually snowed continuously in Duluth from 1 p.m. Oct. 31 to 1 p.m. Nov. 3, so a backbreaking stretch of 72 consecutive hours of snow. Fifteen of those hours was heavy snow, with about 2 inches an hour falling in Duluth from 11 a.m. Nov. 1 until 2 o'clock the next morning. 

The snow totals and date are surely historic all alone, but a huge reason the 1991 Halloween Blizzard is so memorable is due to the fact that it dumped way more snow than forecasters thought it would. Here's what happened, as told by the Minnesota State Climatology Office

"Most forecasts for October 31st for central Minnesota called for a cold rain by the afternoon. Possibly heavy. The primary question at the time was: 'How much rain would fall?'

"As Halloween dawned back in 1991, some wintery weather was anticipated but no one was expecting a blizzard. The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch at 4:00 am on the 31st with a potential of a foot of snow. The first inkling that the forecast underprojected snowfall totals came when precipitation started falling as snow at about 11:30am in the Twin Cities, much earlier than anticipated."

The Twin Cities had 8.2 inches of snow fall on Halloween and another 18.5 inches the next day. Then came the winds on the back side of the storm, in addition to the earliest sub-zero temperature in Twin Cities history with a negative 3 degrees on Nov. 4. 

Since the epic storm, snow has fallen in the Twin Cities just twice on Halloween. It happened in 1995 and 1996, but very little accumulated those days and none has been recorded on Oct. 31 since. 

The forecast for Halloween 2019 calls for sunshine and cold with highs in the 30s, but trick-or-treaters won't be trudging through half a foot of snow to get their candy. 

Next Up

Willmar Police Department

'Errant bullet' goes through garage wall, kills Willmar man

The man was working in his garage when he was shot, witnesses said.

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 10.59.00 PM

Wild tie Kings with 2 seconds left, win in overtime

Another incredible finish for the Wild.

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 6.53.17 PM

Mike Lindell's MyPillow offering discounts using the code 'Qanon'

The Shakopee-based company is under the microscope because of the recent actions of its owner.

Surly Brewing

Facing aluminum can shortage, Surly unveils solution: 'Cantyhose'

The brewery came up with a creative way to repurpose unused cans.

Liam Robbins

Gophers stay perfect at home by crushing 7th-ranked Michigan

Liam Robbins and Marcus Carr were too much for the previously undefeated Wolverines.

police lights

Four teens arrested over robberies in Minneapolis

They teens were found in a vehicle that was taken during an earlier carjacking.

Boundary Waters/BWCA

All BWCA visitors will now have to watch three 'Leave No Trace' videos

Visitors left an "unacceptably high amount" of damage last year.


Ten fatal overdoses in past 6 weeks reported in region of northern MN

Law enforcement agencies have issued a plea to the general public.

u.s. district court minnesota - federal court minneapolis

Bracing for security threats, federal courthouses closing in Minnesota

Security is also being ramped up at the state capitol.

N95 mask

3M sues Florida company that sold 10K counterfeit N95 masks to HCMC

The Maplewood company has obtained a temporary injunction against the firm.


snow, buses, metro transit

Blizzard warnings issued for 'potentially historic' snowstorm

Parts of southwest Minnesota could get 2 feet of snow.

Nasty blizzard ready to hammer parts of Minnesota

2 feet of snow is possible in western Minnesota.


'Potentially historic' blizzard bearing down on NW MN

Crippling snow and winds will hit the region late Wednesday.

How many times has it snowed on Halloween?

The blizzard of 1991 was as rare as it was historic.

Warnings expanded as ground blizzard set to impact MN

Winds will whip up to 45 mph in western and southern Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2020-12-23 at 2.09.36 PM

All of Twin Cities metro area added to blizzard warning

Extreme blowing snow will lead to impossible travel conditions.


Warnings expand: Heavy snow, blizzard conditions to hammer MN

The storm is ramping up and ready to plow through Minnesota and Wisconsin.