Weather Forecast


Ice, wind and snow fill February

A snow plow works to clear the roads during last week’s winter storm. (Photos by Paul Kampe, contributor)1 / 2
A vehicle went off the road Feb. 20 in the midst of a storm. State Patrol reported hundreds of crashes and urged drivers to stay off the roads for days earlier this month. 2 / 2

Winter’s grip on the area doesn’t seem to be loosening any time soon.

February’s cold, snowy weather, on top of snow and ice built up so far this season, caused issues from car crashes to frozen pipes throughout the month.

The deep frost in the ground puts some water service lines at risk of freezing, the Red Wing Public Works Department has warned. So far this year there have been at least 30 property owners who have faced frozen lines in Red Wing, public works staff told the City Council on Monday.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” public works employee Tammie Dougherty said.

The main issue is in the part of the lines under the street, where there is less snow to warm the area, Deputy Director of Public Services Lynn Nardinger said. The problem doesn’t seem to be concentrated in any certain part of the city, Dougherty said.

Property owners should check the temperature of their water. If it is below 40 degrees, city staff suggests residents run a small stream of water at all times, about the width of a pencil, to keep water moving through the pipes until the frost is out of the ground.

The cost is a property owner’s responsibility, but could be less than the bill from a plumber for frozen line repairs, the city said.

Property owners who have had frozen pipes will be credited for the use of water run to prevent re-freezing, based on the previous one-year average, the city said.

Frozen pipes are the second most common cause of home insurance claims in the country, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes offers several suggestions to homes are prepared for the cold:

•Check and restore caulk around windows.

•Check for air leaks around windows and doors, and seal with caulk, foam or weather stripping.

•For pipes, insulate exposed pipes and run water, especially if you’ll be out of town during an expected cold spell.

But frozen pipes were only one headache locals faced in February.

Hundreds of crashes throughout the region were spurred by ice and drifting, blowing snow during at least two winter storms. Winds gusted up to 40 mph Feb. 25 and also hit speeds in the 20s and low 30s throughout the month.

Nearly 10 inches of snow were added to the already deep banks during February, including 7 inches on Feb. 19. That snow came after 1.25 inches of rain, coating roads in ice and causing snow to pack and cling to the pavement.

Schools also faced more closures and a delayed start due to cold and road conditions.

Since the start of the year, there have been 49 days with a high below freezing, and 37 days where the low dipped below zero.

But winter’s end may be in sight as this month begins: The first day of spring is March 20.

February by the numbers

High: 42 degrees on Feb. 18

Low: minus 23 degrees on Feb. 11

Average daily high: 16.63 degrees

Average daily low: minus 4.74 degrees

Number of days with a high below freezing: 26

Number of days with a low below zero: 17

Precipitation: 9.8 inches of snow; 1.64 inches of rain

 Sources: U.S. Lock & Dam No. 3, Red Wing Waste Water Treatment Plant

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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