Reflecting on the Halloween Blizzard

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – This is something people in Rochester will always remember.

31 years ago, a powerful storm system, which would be referred to as the Halloween Blizzard of ’91 or the Halloween Ice Storm of ’91 depending on where you were at the time, swept across the region.

People remember the day just like it was yesterday.

“The kids, you can’t spoil their fun,” Mary Thompson, a Rochester resident said.

According to the National Weather Service in La Cross, WI, this storm became to be known as the Halloween Blizzard around the Twin Cities and was known as the Halloween Ice Storm for SE MN & northern Iowa.

“I remember trying to make it home. It took me twice what it usually would take me,” Thompson said.

When it was over, 2-3 inches of ice accumulated across South-Central and Southeastern Minnesota, snapping not just the power lines, but the power poles themselves.

And after the ice, if that was not bad enough, our area picked up 4-8 inches of snow. A few places seeing closer to 10 inches!

Iowa wasn’t left unscathed from this historic storm, Interstate 35 was closed down by Fallen Power Lines.

80,000 homes were without power. There was $63 million in utility damage. Then Governor Terry Brandstad declared 52 out of 99 counties a disaster area.

In Minnesota, 11 counties were declared federal disaster areas. The total damage over $11 million.

But the big takeaway for people…

“It didn’t stop the kids from trick or treating. They grew up on ice in my neighborhood,” Thompson said.

For another woman, Paula Roberts, she cancelled her Trick or Treating Plans.

She was pregnant at the time and decided to stay in.

“It was a beautiful morning starting out, I was thinking about growing a human and having Candy ready for the kids. Unfortunately that did not happen, the storm shifted up all the plans that we had. For years people still talk about this. Shoveling people out, taking turns being neighborly,” Roberts said.

The storm is over, but there’s one thing people can agree on.

“I’m glad it’s a beautiful day for the kids today,” Thompson said.