County’s Worst Blizzard Hits Here from the Roseau Times-Region March 10, 1966
“Fifteen inches of snow and winds up to fifty miles an hour ties up the entire area. An “old-fashioned blizzard” of unprecedented proportions struck Roseau County last week bringing practically every form of activity to a complete halt by Friday. The band of storm activity covered the entire state of North Dakota and the greater part of northern Minnesota. On Thursday morning, the snow began late Wednesday evening and moved into Roseau County from the West with a vengeance. By mid-morning, the wind velocity had reached gusts of 50-60 miles an hour and was heaping the rapidly falling snow into impassable drifts. Traffic was at a stand-still and transients were leaving their stalled vehicles for the nearest shelter. Fortunately, the temperature remained at a reasonable level hovering around 15 to 20 degrees during the greater part of the storm. By Friday morning the storm had somewhat alleviated, the snow had ceased and the sun broke through. Blizzard conditions still prevailed however and the snow whipped by northwest winds was still piling up. The snowplows began making exploratory runs on Friday and some of the main roads were opened.
The mail service was completely tied up, there being no Rural, Star, or City delivery out of the Roseau Post Office on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. The first mail from the outside was received at the Roseau Post Office on Sunday and on Monday all deliveries were being completed where possible. Part of the mail was still tied up in other parts of the State and local service in certain areas was still dependent on the opening of the roads.
The Roseau Creamery attempted to run their milk trucks during the storm and a considerable amount of milk was picked up during the height of the blizzard. By Sunday when more roads were opened, the creamery took in 175,000 lbs. of milk in one day. A number of producers who were inaccessible to the trucks were forced to dump their milk from lack of storage space.
All schools in the county were closed Thursday, Friday, and Monday with most schools resuming normal operations on Tuesday. The district basketball tourney was rescheduled from Monday and Tuesday to Tuesday and Wednesday. The Junior Sports meet, in which rural schools participate, was definitely postponed.
It was estimated that about 100 people were housed at the Guest House, the Golden Hotel, and the Evergreen Motel during the storm. All who needed rooms were taken care of at the three hostelries and there were no stalled folks without comfortable accommodations. Restaurant facilities were very good and many people expressed their appreciation to their hosts during their enforced “visit” to Roseau.
There were no communication breakdowns of a serious nature, though at times the local Northwestern Bell dial system was overburdened with many times the normal number of calls causing innumerable busy signals. Manager Fossum stated that this was due to the excessive number of calls and was not the result of any malfunction in the system caused by the blizzard.
The local supply of bread and milk was low at times but there was never any shortage. Honl Bakery worked overtime to maintain a supply of the “staff of life.”
By Friday afternoon the tremendous job of digging out was well underway. The main roads out of the town were open and most of the involuntary but welcome visitors were on their way again. Working around the clock the various snowplow crews were doing a yeoman job of clearing the roads. The work continues as we go to press, most activities are approaching normal again after the greatest disruption in many a year.
The innumerable Polaris Sno-Travelers in the area proved invaluable during the storm in bringing service personnel to their essential jobs, in the hospital, the rest homes, the hotels, and restaurants, and in delivering supplies and medicine to people who would otherwise have been completely isolated. On Sunday Donald Hedlund and Robert Hetteen had a trip to a cabin 7 ½ miles southeast of the River fire tower to rescue Larry Gross whose truck had stalled in the forest area at the start of the storm. Gross was down to practically no food and had taken to burning the furnishings in the cabin to keep warm. The trip was made on a Polaris machine.”
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