By Chris Shaffer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 is a story that is brought up year after year, and for good reason. The record-setting storm has become a badge of honor.

Blustery winds and plummeting temperatures on Halloween night made going house-to-house for trick-or-treaters or just about anywhere a challenge. And Halloween night was just the start.

Former WCCO Meteorologist Paul Huttner remembers the around-the-clock updates on a blustery Nov. 1 morning.

“It came fast and was a shock,” Huttner recalled. “We’re saying that’s going to be more than 20 inches of snow! That’s not really going to happen, right?”

As the Twin Cities woke up, the snow picked up, at times falling two inches an hour. The wet, heavy snow collapsed rooftops and stranded fire fighters. Police swapped their squads for snowmobiles to navigate the roads while others used skis to get down the street.

In 1991, we called it the “Mega Storm.” On Halloween, we got just over eight inches of snow. And on the next day? Another 18.5 inches. The day after that another inch fell. And on Nov. 3, a few more tenths of an inch, bringing a whopping 28.4 inches of snow, the biggest storm still on record.

Mike and Liz Barnett’s home videos document their experience, watching Mike try to keep up with the snow, while Liz watched their new born.

“When I first opened the garage door and saw the drift against there, I went, ‘Oh,'” Mike Barnett said. “I was up for the challenge and the snow blower was too.”

While digging out was hard, plenty of fun was had too.

“It’s a good memory, watching all those people going down the road in their 4x4s, pulling sleds. It’s exciting and the snow was a great memory, looking back at it now,” Liz Barnett said.

“As a meteorologist you always want to work the big storm,” Huttner said. “As I saw there that morning, I knew it was huge. I had no idea this would stand as the biggest snow storm in Twin Cities history as I sit here 30 years later.”

“Minnesotans and weather, it’s always a part of living here I think,” Barnett laughed.

That blizzard left mountains snow on the ground. It melted away about a week later, but we picked up another 14 inches over Thanksgiving. And that snow stuck around until early March.

Chris Shaffer