The 1999 Blowdown Storm: Looking Back After 20 Years
During the early-morning hours of July 4, 1999, a series of thunderstorms formed over portions of North and South Dakota. As the day moved along, the storms grew in strength. Some of the storms formed into a bow echo and began moving across Minnesota with damaging winds.
Eventually, the “Boundary Waters Blowdown” would last for over 22 hours, travel more than 1,300 miles at an average speed of almost 60 mph, resulting in widespread devastation in both Canada and the United States. According to estimates by the US Forest Service, an estimated 25 million trees were blown down during the storm.
As the storm raced into northeast Minnesota during the early afternoon of July 4th, its power was unleashed on many people camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and other parts of Cook and St. Louis counties.
In the summer of 2019, WTIP is looking back on the Blowdown storm through a series of commemorative features and interviews with those who experienced the Blowdown storm firsthand.
The 1999 Blowdown Storm: Looking Back After 20 Years is supported in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.