After foot of snow in western Minn., another storm system forecast midweek
WILLMAR – The weekend snowfall hit the one-foot mark in western Minnesota. The National Weather Service received a report of 12 inches as of Saturday evening in Holloway.
There were several 12-inch reports and a few higher figures from the snowfall that began Saturday and continued into the early hours Sunday. According to the reports available Sunday afternoon, the top figure was 15.6 inches near Lake Park reported Sunday morning. There were two reports late Saturday night of 15 inches, at Herman and near Pelican Rapids.
In Willmar, there was a report of 8.4 inches Sunday morning north of the city. Other reports in the region ranged from 5 to 10 inches. (See separate list of snowfall reports.)
Old man winter is not letting up as another storm system is expected to impact the upper Midwest during the middle of the week, according to the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities. A widespread soaking rain is forecast with some wintry precipitation briefly Tuesday and again Thursday. With the expected rain and warm temperatures, the localized urban and small stream flooding threat is rising across the state. The increased moisture is expected to bring patchy fog Tuesday through Wednesday in west central Minnesota.
Saturday’s winter storm started with rain, sleet and then snow, leaving a layer of ice under the snow as temperatures dropped in the evening. The weather service tweeted on Saturday that snow totals fell a bit from early predictions thanks to the initial push of rain.
The snowfall was heavy early on, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation issued no-travel advisories due to heavy snow and reduced visibility in several counties in western Minnesota.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported 173 crashes statewide between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, 18 of them involving injury but no fatalities. The State Patrol also noted 284 vehicle spinouts and 10 jackknifed semis during the same period.
Tim McCoy, a maintenance supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 office in Willmar, said Saturday that it takes longer to clear heavy snow, and at times it was snowing so hard during the day that roads were filling back in behind the plows.
“There’s a lot of wet, heavy snow; it’s hard to push,” McCoy said.
“We’ve had everything thrown at us today,” said Todd Miller, maintenance supervisor for Kandiyohi County, during an interview Saturday. The county plows were working to keep blacktop roads open Saturday and would work their full routes on Sunday, he said.
Miller said it’s been a long winter for everyone, including the plow drivers. “We thank the public for their patience.”
The no travel advisory was lifted about 8 a.m. Sunday across west central Minnesota, but most state highways in the region remained completely snow-covered for much of the day Sunday, according to the 511 traveler information website. Later in the afternoon, some highways were rated partially covered as plow crews continued their work and some roads improved to a rating of “normal.”
Heavy snow is stressing roofs across Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, according to media reports.
Gov. Tim Walz and Sen. Tina Smith met Saturday with dairy farmers in southeastern Minnesota. Dozens of barn and farm building roofs have collapsed in Minnesota in recent weeks due to heavy snow. The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports a bill is in the Legislature to assist affected farmers as soon as possible.
A cattle barn on a rural Paynesville farm collapsed due to the weekend snowstorm. According to Facebook posts from family members, numerous volunteers arrived Sunday to help rescue the cattle trapped in the wreckage.
Roof collapse concerns have continued to grow across the upper Midwest.
In Winona, a Holiday Inn Express & Suites reported on Facebook that part of its roof over its pool area collapsed Sunday morning due to “an overabundance of rain and snow.” The hotel reported that no one was injured in the roof collapse.
In the Fargo-Moorhead area, a roof collapsed at the St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in north Moorhead. Two people were inside the church when its roof collapsed, but no one was hurt, WDAY News reported. Also Sunday, part of the roof collapsed at the Trail King Industries building in West Fargo.
The St. Cloud Fire Department responded Saturday to a building roof collapse at 927 Ninth Ave. S. in St. Cloud. The cause was believed to be from the weight of the snow, the St. Cloud Times reported.
In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a man was injured Sunday afternoon when the snow-covered canopy over the gas pumps collapsed on his vehicle at the Mega Holiday station. The man was able to free himself from the car after the collapse and was transported to a hospital with minor injuries, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported.
If you are concerned about the snow building on your roof, building experts advise removing as much snow using a roof rake, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. Another option is to hire a professional if possible to remove the snow on your roof, which will cost significantly less than repairing a collapsed roof.