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Brainerd area residents who tried to get to work on time Wednesday morning found the main roads passable, but in some cases often had to drive past colleagues stuck on the then-unplowed side streets. 

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Early-morning drivers on the main roads in Brainerd slowly perused the entrances to side streets and judge whether they could make it through the drifts and onto the unplowed. Some guessed wrong and had to wait for help to be pushed, pulled or dug out. — Mike O’Rourke

Welcome Center roads were less than welcoming to motorists

Brainerd Lakes Area Welcome Center maintenance personnel were shoveling sidewalks Wednesday, but the center’s roads were less than welcoming to visitors who tried to exit northbound on Highway 371 from the center at about 9:45 a.m. The snow drifts were big enough to force four-wheel drive motorists to dig out by shovel before they could drive. — Mike O’Rourke

What a difference a year makes

A year ago in the Brainerd area the wildfire and spring flood seasons were underway, thanks to above average temperatures and no snowfall in March, which is usually the second snowiest month of winter. 

“We had some action at this point last year, but this snow will delay things quite a bit this year as far as fire activity,” said Mark Mortensen, DNR program forester. 

The concern this year, however, will be spring flooding. While there was already flooding concern because of above average snowfall this winter, Tuesday and Wednesday’s snowfall compounds the problem. 

“This is just going to run downstream,” Mortensen said. 

Steve Gohde, observing program leader with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said the snow and sustained high temperatures below 32 degrees will push area flood risks back a couple of weeks. 

“That’s good for the short term but not in the long term,” Gohde said. “Rivers have been able to draw some water with the initial  melt cycles but this (recent winter) weather just keeps pushing it back later until we have some rain, which will make things worse.”— Matt Erickson

Have shovel, will work

A group of enterprising men armed with shovels knocked on doors in north Brainerd neighborhoods offering to tackle the deep snow, drifts and, perhaps more importantly, those high and packed ends of driveways left in the wake of the city snowplows. 

And generous neighbors gave of their muscle and gas as they took their snowblowers to clear sidewalks. When the snow started falling Tuesday night it felt and looked like windblown sand. By Wednesday morning, the snow, thankfully, was heavy enough but not that back-breaking water laden snowfall that March tends to deliver. — Renee Richardson

Snow traps car on railroad tracks

RANDALL — About 12:25 a.m. Wednesday the Morrison County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Randall after a car was struck by a train in the city. Deputies learned Rebekah Zoe-Marie Schilling, 17, Fort Ripley, had become stuck in the snow on the BNSF Railway tracks on East Sixth Street. 

Schilling was able to safely exit her vehicle but the vehicle was struck shortly thereafter by a  train. The vehicle was pushed about 50 yards from the intersection before rolling off the tracks and into the ditch.  The vehicle then caught fire and the Randall Fire Department responded to the scene to extinguish it. The vehicle is considered a total loss but there were no injuries as a result of the collision. — Matt Erickson

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