Wind follows snow that follows rain
The snowy winter streak continued this week when a storm dumped a batch of wet, heavy snow, closing schools, causing power outages and crashes, and prompting the first snow emergency of the season in Red Wing.
The National Weather Service reported at least 7 inches of snow had fallen in Red Wing by late Thursday night. More came down through Friday morning.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton issued an emergency order directing the Minnesota National Guard to assist stranded motorists.
The heavy snow, mixed with winds and some freezing rain that fell before the flakes, made for dangerous roads Thursday and Friday.
That, along with high winds, also caused power lines to go down and trees and branches to snap and affect lines as well, and Xcel Energy was still working Friday to restore power to thousands in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
About 58,000 customers were affected since the weather began deteriorating Thursday evening, the company said in a news release.
Many customers had power back Friday, but scattered outages in the Red Wing area were still being reported, according to Xcel Energy’s outage map.
To report an outage or downed power line, Xcel customers can call 1-800-895-4999.
The Red Wing school district once again canceled classes Thursday and Friday — this time due to snow and road conditions. The district lost five school days last month due to cold.
Cannon Falls, Goodhue, Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Lake City and Kenyon-Wanamingo schools also were closed Friday.
Red Wing declared a snow emergency, which goes through today. Vehicles must be moved from streets that are non-snow emergency routes until noon. Even if streets have been plowed before then, cars can be ticketed and towed for parking there; plows may need to come through areas more than once to fully clear snow, city officials said.
No travel was advised in southeastern Minnesota, including Goodhue County due to blowing snow, ice and reduced visibility. Much of the state faced similar conditions.
Drifting and compacting snow Friday caused many vehicles to crash or get stranded, MnDOT reported.
The Wisconsin State Patrol also encouraged drivers to avoid travel as officers responded to a number of crashes. Reduced visibility, icy roads and deep snow caused issues on the roads, the office said.
As of Friday afternoon, the southeastern district of the Minnesota State Patrol, which includes Goodhue County, had reported preliminary counts of at least 284 vehicles that had gone off the roadway in the area.
The State Patrol responded to 404 crashes statewide between 2 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday, Lt. Eric Roeske reported. Thirty-two involved injuries and one was fatal.
“We’re receiving reports from veteran troopers in several areas of the state of conditions that are as bad as they’ve seen in 25 years,” State Patrol Lt. Col. Matt Langer said Friday, urging drivers to stay off the roads if possible.