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The Blizzard of 1973

It was 41 years ago today that it all started… “The April Blizzard of 1973.” The snow started on Monday, April 9, and buried most of the State in 12 to 20” of snow. Drifts of 15 feet were common across the state. Dubuque & Waterloo had 18 – 20” of snowfall. Cedar Rapids & Iowa City received 12 – 14” of snow. Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, Dubuque, & Des Moines streets and state highways were littered with hundreds of stranded cars. Babies were born in doctors’ offices because the roads to the hospitals were impassable. Schools, businesses, and even the Legislature were closed for at least a couple of days. Just 3 days earlier, 70 degree weather was common across the state.

I was 8 years old at the time and remember my Dad being stuck in Cedar Falls for a couple of days because of all the snow. By the weekend he was loading his race car with a tractor because of all the snow and then headed to Omaha, NE for a race. They were assured after phone calls to the Speedway that the track missed the snow and the race was still on. Everyone thought he was crazy hauling a race car with snow taller than the race car hauler… but he finished 2nd that weekend.

Let’s hope we don’t see another April snow storm like that ever again.  Click here to see a picture of what Blairs Ferry Road looked like after the snow finally stopped.  Needless to say, recent blizzards, like the 2011 one (aftermath pictured below) pale in comparison.  However, don’t tell the owner of this car.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


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