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Speaker to recount deadly blizzard of 1940

RELEASED: Sept. 24, 2010

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Environmental Adventure Center will sponsor a presentation titled "Tim Eisele, Armistice Day: The Storm of November 11, 1940" at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Environmental Adventure Center in the Hilltop Center basement on upper campus. The event is free and open to the public.

cars in the snow from the storm of 1940The event will focus on one of the deadliest blizzards in history and its survivors. The storm hit the Midwest and killed 49 people in Minnesota and 150 nationwide. About half of the people who died in Minnesota were identified as duck hunters.

Tim Eisele, a freelance outdoor writer and photographer from Madison, has interviewed many people who saw the storm firsthand. He will share many of his stories and recount the hunters' experiences.

The Armistice Day Blizzard ranks second on the Minnesota State Climatology Office top five weather events of the 20th century. More than 16 inches of snow fell in Minneapolis as well as 27 inches in Collegeville, Minn. Temperatures dropped from 60 degrees to the single digits in less than 24 hours. Winds ranged from 50-80 miles per hour and 20-foot snow drifts were common across the region. Since the morning forecast had called for unusually high temperatures for Nov. 11, many people planned outside activities to take advantage of the nice weather. By late in the day, many duck hunters faced furious winds and blowing sleet and snow due to a massive low pressure system that moved in unexpectedly.

In 1940, weather forecasts originated from Chicago. Unlike today, there was no indication or warning that such a storm was on its way. Part of Eisele's presentation is related to weather and helping today's outdoor enthusiasts be aware of and prepare for specific weather conditions.

More information about the blizzard is available on the websites of the Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Public Radio and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Armistice Day marked the anniversary of the secession of hostilities between the Allies and Germany during World War I. After World War II, the name of the observance changed to Veterans Day.

For more information about the event at UW-Eau Claire, contact Dan Langlois at 715-836-3616 or langlodt@uwec.edu.

-30-

LA/RD/DW

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