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Weather Talk: Recollections of my first Fargo fall snow

Thirty-three years ago today, I was a young meteorologist experiencing my first fall season in Fargo-Moorhead as the new meteorologist on WDAY-TV. And there was a snowstorm coming.

For two days, Oct. 7-8, 1985, heavy snow fell across much of North Dakota and the northwest corner of Minnesota. Central North Dakota was hit hardest with 17 inches falling in Velva and a foot in Minot. The snow amounted to around half a foot from Bismarck to Devils Lake.

Roseau, Minn., was buried under 8 inches. Grand Forks got about 4 inches. Fargo-Moorhead and points south and east from here only had rain as temperatures hovered around 40 degrees for the duration of the storm.

Even though the fall of 1985 was one of the coldest on record, all of the snow did melt before winter's true snowpack began forming in November. Although the snowstorm missed the Fargo area, this young meteorologist was wondering just what he had gotten himself into.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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