National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Weather History - March 2nd

Local and Regional Events:

March 2, 1966:

The blizzard began late on March 2nd in the west and moved very slowly across the state reaching the extreme east on the 4th continuing into the 5th. Snow depths ranged from 2 to 4 inches in southeast South Dakota to nearly 3 feet in north central South Dakota. Winds of 40 to 55 mph with gusts to 70 mph caused widespread blowing snow and near zero visibilities during the storm. Drifts up to 30 feet were reported in sheltered areas with open fields nearly bare. The storm caused massive livestock losses. Estimated losses were 50,000 cattle, 46,000 sheep, and 1800 hogs. The most substantial losses were in the central and north central parts of the state. The heavy snow also collapsed many structures. The storm directly caused three deaths due to exposure and three deaths were indirectly caused by the storm; 2 due to heart attacks and one by asphyxiation. The blizzard was rated as one of the most severe that has been experienced in South Dakota. Many roads were blocked for days along with many schools and businesses closed.


March 2, 2007:

An area of low pressure moved slowly northeast across the central and northern plains bringing widespread snowfall along with intense winds. The combination of the falling snow and the existing snow cover resulted in blizzard conditions with visibilities to zero at times. This blizzard event was part of the same upper-level low-pressure trough that brought the heavy snowfall to the area on February 28th.  Additional snowfall occurred on March 1st and 2nd across the region as a large area of snow wrapped in from the east. Widespread blizzard conditions developed by noon on March 2nd and continued into the early morning hours of the 3rd. Snowfall amounts, including the snow on February 28th, ranged from 2 inches to as much as 22 inches across central and northeast South Dakota. The heaviest snowfall amounts were across northeastern South Dakota where total snow depths were in the 25 to 30-inch range. Northwest winds of 30 to 45 mph with gusts near 60 mph brought zero visibilities at times across the area along with creating large snowdrifts. Schools, businesses, airports, roads, and interstates were closed for up to two days. Travel was not advised across the area. Also, many cars were ditched along with several accidents. Many travelers were stranded and several shelters were opened. The Emergency Operations Center was activated in Pierre, and the Governor declared the blizzard area a disaster. Some of the most significant snowfall amounts over the 3 day period included, 11 inches at Andover, Hosmer, and Redfield, 12 inches at Webster, 13 inches at Miller, 14 inches at Victor, Groton, and Clark, 15 inches at Castlewood and Summit, 16 inches at Watertown and Roy Lake, 19 inches at Sisseton, 20 inches at Milbank, 21 inches at Bryant, and 22 inches at Clear Lake.

U.S.A and Global Events for March 2nd:

1927: Raleigh, North Carolina was buried under 17.8 inches of snow in 24 hours, a record for that location until 2000. On January 25, 2000, Raleigh saw 17.9 inches of snow in 24 hours.

1988: Thunderstorms produced severe weather in the south-central U.S. A tornado in Baton Rouge, Louisiana injured two persons, and another tornado caused five million dollars damage at the airport in Lafayette, Louisiana.

1990: Twenty-two ships were trapped by ice in the worst ice jam in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 10 years. The ice was 23 feet thick.

Click HERE for more This Day in Weather History from the Southeast Regional Climate Center.