Snowstorm dumps more than a foot in central Minn.
By Tom Cherveny and Susan Lunneborg
WILLMAR — Snowfall totals topped a foot Wednesday in Meeker County as a spring snowstorm moved across the state.
A report of 14.8 inches of snow Wednesday evening at Darwin was the second-highest total reported by the National Weather Service in Chanhassen as of the 9 p.m. update when the Weather Service said snow had ended in western and central Minnesota.
Only North Branch in Chisago County was higher at 15.1 inches in the 9 p.m. report. The report’s figures may not be the final totals.
Elsewhere in Meeker County, there was 14 inches reported at Litchfield and 12.7 inches at Cosmos.
Sacred Heart in Renville County reported 9.3 inches of snow Wednesday evening, and Olivia was reporting 8 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
Willmar topped the 6-inch mark by Wednesday evening with 6.2 inches in the city, and one mile outside the city there was a report of 6.5 inches.
In Swift County, there was a report of 4 inches at Murdock, and a weather observer in Benson reported to the Tribune that there was just over 4 inches by 5 p.m.
Gusting winds and icy roads made for difficult travel throughout the region. The Minnesota State Patrol responded about 6 p.m. Wednesday to a crash with injuries east of Renville on U.S. Highway 212. The Patrol said roads were icy at the time. Further details can be found here.
The State Patrol responded to a 2002 International semi-truck and trailer that left U.S. Highway 59 south of Clarkfield in Yellow Medicine County and tipped over around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. Its driver, Charles Harper, 57, of Dawson, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The Patrol also responded to a fatal accident on Interstate 94 in Clay County involving two semi-trucks.
There were vehicle spin-outs reported on U.S. Highway 71 south of Willmar and U.S. Highway 12 east of Willmar as the evening commute was under way. There’s hope ahead: Today will bring sunny skies with a high near 38 and a moderate, northwest wind of 10 to 15 miles per hour. Sunshine and a high of 60 are possible on Easter.
Nevertheless, there could be some new figures in the record books for Minnesota. Brian Lada, meteorologist for AccuWeather.com, said Minneapolis is well above the seasonal average of 54 inches, having reached 69.5 inches as of April 15.
If the city can manage to pick up an additional 6.4 inches of snow before the cold air departs for good, it would become the 10th snowiest winter in the city's history, Lada said in a news release.
Even if only 3 more inches of snow falls, that would make it the 10th snowiest April on record.