By Kristin Matzke, BECHS Volunteer
Almost winter, winter, still winter, and construction: the four charming seasons of the upper Midwest. Well, this winter season has put a temporary freeze on that cliche with its record-breaking temperatures. In its own unique way this season has been a winter wonderland. Residents have been left wondering with multiple days prompting shorts and t-shirts. Highs have been in the 40s, 50s, and even 60s throughout these “winter” months. The balmy weather may have already lulled the county into thinking it is in Arizona. But to those who have become overly confident that Jack Frost is not going to show his face, beware. Jack may have a few mood swings left in him yet.
The year is 1982; the month, April. April Fools’ Day has come and gone, but on the third day of the month, Minnesotans are not amused. Lamberton in Red Wood County experiences a temperature drop of 71 degrees. Blue Earth County thinks it is welcoming spring but instead greets a winter tantrum.
On the fateful day of April 3, 1982, a treacherous snowstorm reared its frosty head throughout the state, bringing gusty winds, icy roads, and many a stranded motorist. The Mankato area was covered with roughly four inches of snow on the ground. High winds brought not only giant snow drifts but also broken windows, split trees, upended signs, and downed power lines. The mixture of snow and wind accounted for zero visibility, which in turn resulted in multiple minor accidents. Minnesota was knocked out of its comfortable spring stupor.
Thirty years ago, southern Minnesota was at the receiving end of Jack Frost’s joke. Perhaps just like fashion trends, the winter weather cycle may come back to haunt us. After all, history has a tendency to repeat itself.