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Snow covers the apparatus Thursday at Minnegasco Park in southwest Willmar. The park, usually buzzing with activity this time of year, was deserted as a spring snowstorm hit the area. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

West central Minnesota residents ‘so so so so sick of snow!!’

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Had enough of winter?

“Santa Claus got ran over by the Easter Bunny,’’ laughed Janette Wertish Thursday morning at her Handi-Stop convenience and gas station on U.S. Highway 212 in Renville.

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The calendar said it was April 11 but the heavy, drifting snow of a spring storm screamed “January,” unleashing a mix of dismay, disgust, cynicism and resignation from area residents sick of it all.

Along with wishes for a “Merry Christmas,’’ Wertish said customers have responded to the snowstorm with sarcasm as heavy as the wet blanket of snow they’re struggling to shovel and plow.

“If that is going to do any good,’’ she said of the sarcasm.

The April snowstorm dumped just under half a foot of wet snow on Willmar. Towns south and west, along with the east central region including Meeker County, were hit much harder, leaving winter-weary residents to break out their shovels and snowblowers yet again.

“Yes, I think they’re plenty tired of this,’’ said Teresa Patton, Java River Café in downtown Montevideo. She too heard a tone of sarcasm in the voices of business owners who made their way to coffee on Thursday.

“It’s a mess,’’ said Patton of the conditions in town, where an unofficial 8-inch snowfall was recorded. Some businesses in town closed because customers couldn’t drive into town. The café was to have catered a luncheon event for the Chippewa County Historical Society, but for the second time in recent weeks the weather forced its postponement.

Minnesota Highway 23 in Clara City, normally busy, was quiet except for in-town traffic. At the Kwik N Ezy convenience store and gas station, owner Bruce Berghuis said all his customers Thursday morning were local residents, and it wasn’t hard to read their feelings.

“Everybody is disgusted with the weather,’’ he said.                                                                            

West Central Tribune readers across the area shared photos they took of snow-covered backyards and bird feeders, drifted-over decks and treacherous roads. From Melissa Peterson of Spicer came a shot of the view through her windshield Thursday morning, showing a highway that was barely visible.

“Driving from Spicer to Willmar at 8:30 a.m…. until I saw the mall had closed and I got to go back home!” Peterson said.

Aaron Jensen of Spicer left this comment under a photo on the Tribune’s Facebook page of a snowy playground: “I am so not lovin’ this snow one bit! I am SERIOUS!”

On Twitter, few seemed compelled to hold back their feelings.

“More snow. Yeah. I am so happy. Where is the sarcasm font when I need it?” tweeted Theresa Wittenberg of Spicer.

The Hawk Creek Country Club of Raymond tweeted a photo of a snow-laden evergreen with one accompanying word: “Why?”

“I hate snow. I want to golf. I hate snow,” lamented Zach Whitchurch of Litchfield.

Pam Buermann of Paynesville summed it up with a seven-word tweet: “So so so so sick of snow!!”

But wait, is it really that bad?

It may seem like a hard winter but the weather has not been so much different compared to past winters, said Ron Gilbertson, Willmar Public Works superintendent.

“I think the fact that we had such a mild, easy winter last year just makes us feel like it’s the worst winter,’’ he said.

There have been several April snowstorms in the past “and it’s not so much out of the ordinary,’’ said Gilbertson, who starts his 39th year with the city.

Everyone was talking about the weather Thursday morning at Master’s Coffee Shop on U.S. Highway 212 in Olivia, said Carlotta Eischens.

But the sun was breaking through the clouds and providing a lull in the storm when Eischens was reached on the phone. “Spirits are good because it is sunny,’’ she said.

She said there was also an upbeat mood in this agricultural-focused community. “We needed the moisture,’’ she said.

Patton, of the Java River Café in Montevideo, said the town is resilient in spite of it all. “We’re all coping down here in the south,” she said.

Staff writers Tom Cherveny, David Little and Ashley White contributed to this story.

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Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at http://healthbeat.areavoices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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