Blizzard of 1886

The winter of 1885 and 1886 was particularly severe for Kansas settlers, says this article on Kansapedia.


When a huge snowstorm accompanied by high winds hit the central plains in the first week of January, drifts of six feet or more were common and the temperature dropped to 30 degrees below zero in some places. The snow and wind were so fierce that people became lost a few yards from their homes. It has been estimated that nearly 100 Kansans froze to death during the storm.

Meanwhile, cattle turned their tails to the wind and “drifted” for miles across the open range until they dropped from hunger or exhaustion. Losses reached 75 percent in some areas, consequently bankrupting some large western Kansas cattle companies.

Business and rail traffic were paralyzed for weeks.

Thanks to D.M. Mitchell for this link

“The blizzard of January 1886 changed the way cattle were raised,” says D.M. “No more free range, barbed wire fencing, smaller herds, growing hay for winter feed.

“Of course, there were no farm subsidies and government programs to “save” the farmers and ranchers. Some went out of business, others converted to sheep, others stayed in the cattle business but with changes, as noted above. Still, all things considered, life went on without government intervention and neither the nation, nor the states directly affected collapsed in total economic ruin.

“Life can be harsh. Plan for it. Prepare for it. Be self-reliant and self-responsible.”


8 thoughts on “Blizzard of 1886”

  1. Snowfall in Tomsk (Russia) has turned the clear day into the gloomy night. Weather forecasters predicted on Wednesday, October 16, a little wet snow. Forecast was justified, even though it was a bright morning sun. Many Tomich,expecting morning sun and warm weather for mid-October, were not ready for the real winter snowfall. Snow clouds on Wednesday replaced the bright sunshine and immediately turned the bright day in the gloomy night.

  2. Heavy snowfall paralyzed vehicular traffic in Murmansk (video). A few hours on the road is wet formed porridge, sometimes ice, and on roadsides – small drifts.
    As a result – many kilometers of traffic jams. Got up public transport. As a result, people had to move around the city on foot. According to weather forecasts , weather will last in the region for several days.
    Comment from reader: Even the Russians are surprised by this kind of early and heavy snowfall.
    And winter hasn’t even started yet.

  3. That was an interesting cool period that started in the 1880s. California was hit by an ARK-Storm in 1881-1882. Non stop rain for 45 days turned the central valley into a lake 10 feet deep.

  4. So long as Governments or the military don’t engage in ‘geoengineering’ to create winter blizzards for economic harm…….

  5. I’ve read many books of the accounts of blizzards from 1885-1888 that effected many states from Nebraska to Texas with extreme cold extending into Florida where it killed the entire fruit crop. In early 1888 was the blizzard known as the School Children’s Blizzard where many children on their way home from school were lost being frozen to death.

    The Krakatoa eruption of 1883 is often blamed for these events.

    Events such as these can definitely happen again. Conditions do appear ripe for it so yes we definitely need to plan for it and be prepared as much as we possibly can.

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