April 8-10, 1973: “THE BLIZZARD OF ’73” Pummeled Iowa (Photos/Videos)
In 1973, the worst April blizzard on record in Iowa pounded the state for three days, from April 8-10. (photos and videos below)
Snow began in Iowa on April 8, coupled with wind gusts of 65 mph. Livestock and turkey losses were estimated at $20 million. The Cedar Rapids Gazette said that farmers lost a total of 78,137 calves; 22,235 cows; 6,874 other cattle; 19,329 hogs; 5,467 sheep; 214,400 turkeys; 25,210 pigs; 150 chickens.
It was also estimated that thousands of migrating bluebirds and purple martins were killed by the storm.
Snowfall totals of 20.3” at Belle Plaine, 16” in Grundy Center, and 19.2” at Dubuque set all-time storm total records at those locations.
Total amounts of 16” were reported near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border at Lansing. Another 16” fell in New Hampton, while Cedar Rapids received 14.5”, Iowa City 14.3”, and Des Moines 14.”
In Des Moines, 10.3” fell just on April 9th, making it the snowiest April day on record for the state capital.
Winds gusting to 65 mph or higher resulted in near-zero visibility and blew the snow into drifts as deep as 16 feet, closing most roads in the state.
As many as 14 deaths were blamed on this storm, mostly from heart attacks people suffered while trying to shovel the heavy snow. Two people died of exposure. One was killed in a seven-vehicle accident west of Forest City.