April 8-10, 1973 – Iowa Blizzard


Snowfall totals from April 8-10, 1973 across Iowa. The highest total was 20.3 inches in Belle Plaine, Iowa (Benton County). Des Moines Totaled 14.0 inches from this storm.

In 1973, possibly the worst April blizzard on record in Iowa pounded the state from April 8-10. Snowfall totals of 20.3 inches at Belle Plaine and 19.2 inches at Dubuque set all-time storm total records at those locations. Total amounts of 16.0 inches were reported at Lansing and New Hampton, while Cedar Rapids received 14.5 inches, Iowa City 14.3 inches, and Des Moines 14.0 inches. At Des Moines 10.3 inches of their total fell just on the 9th, making it the snowiest April day on record at that location. 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.


Surface map on the morning of April 9, 1973 shows the strong low pressure center over southeast Iowa and northern Illinois. Much of Iowa was receiving strong winds and blowing snow at this time.


Tuesday morning April 10, 1973, the blizzard was winding down across the state.


Bell Avenue and Fleur Drive on April 9, 1973. Image courtesy of Des Moines Register.


April 1973 Blizzard aftermath. Unknown location.



Here are a few other blog posts about this storm:

Blog post by Kenny Podrazik – NWS Des Moines