Today marks the 130th anniversary of the Schoolhouse Blizzard of January 12, 1888.
After a long cold spell over the Northern Plains, the temperatures advanced considerably. For example, Omaha had recorded a low of −6 °F on January 11, but the temperature had increased to 28°F at 7:00 AM on January 12.
The warm weather after a long cold spell perhaps gave the illusion that relief was in sight, but the conditions deteriorated during the day of the 12th. Thousands of people got caught in the blizzard, and the ultimate death toll was 235.
Most schoolteachers kept the children in school that afternoon, and exceptions almost always resulted in disaster.