January 12, 1888, began as an exceptionally warm winter day. Farmers were tending to their fields as boys and girls raced to school with no coats or gloves.
Mid-morning in the Dakotas and around afternoon dismissal in Nebraska, hurricane-force winds and torrential snow engulfed the plains. By midnight, wind-chills had plummeted to 40 below zero.
The next morning, up to 500 people lay dead on the prairie, many of them school children, who died while trying to find their way home.