Snomaggedon path takes heaviest snow to Wisconsin
Snomaggedon took the brunt of its blast to Wisconsin, but the strong wind through the lakes area made it difficult to get an accurate measurement here.
The National Weather Service in Duluth reported the storm took a more easterly track, with the heaviest snow falling in the Duluth area and Wisconsin. Hinckley received 16 inches of snow. Wednesday night, snow was still falling in Duluth, where the storm dropped 11 inches.
In Brainerd, yards had some spots whipped nearly bare by the wind as snow was piled into drifts elsewhere. Measurements around Brainerd were in the 7- to 9-inch range.
“With this wind, that is going to be pretty much of an average,” said Amanda Graning, National Weather Service meteorologist in Duluth. “It’s real hard for people to measure it.”
Some observers use rain-like gauges to capture the snow in order to get more accurate measurements. In Wisconsin, snow depths included 14 inches in Shell Lake, 16.5 inches southwest of Mellen and 14 inches near Hayward.
“The whole storm itself had a little more of an easterly track that would account for the real heavy stuff falling in Duluth and Wisconsin,” Graning said.
The storm arrived a little later in Brainerd, starting about 8:42 p.m. By 10:30 p.m., 2 inches covered the ground. Graning said just south of Brainerd the storm produced rain. The warm temperatures contributed to the reduced snowfall.
Chances for additional snow continue.
“It’s still an active pattern, but lots of fast-moving weak systems to bring little bits of snow,” Graning said.
On Wednesday several Brainerd lakes area law enforcement departments reported officers didn’t have to respond to major or minor crashes. Morrison and Aitkin counties reported a couple of vehicles went into the ditches.
On the other hand, Judy Jacobs, communications specialist with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), said even though the Minnesota State Patrol didn’t report any crashes in the Brainerd area, there were several vehicles in the ditch.
Jacobs advised motorists to continue to use caution on the roads and to slow down as the roads will become slippery when the temperatures drop.
Jacobs said MnDOT began plowing Tuesday night and anticipated the continuation of that effort through 10 p.m. Wednesday. Jacobs said MnDOT had 17 trucks out with the average route 18-miles long.
“This storm produced wet, heavy snow,” Jacobs said. “We burned more fuel as it took more power to push the snow around. This morning (Wednesday) it was snowing about an inch an hour and by the time they finished their route it looked like they never plowed. But we were out there.”
Jacobs said this winter storm caused a lot of interest with the public, as it was the first major snowstorm of the year.
“Everyone had to learn how to drive again,” Jacobs said.
Brainerd city crews will be out again at 3 a.m. Thursday to plow the east and west streets, alleys and to redo the snow emergency routes, said Jeff Hulsether, Brainerd city engineer.
Hulsether said the city had two graders and four snowplows out Wednesday clearing snow. The city also ran equipment to clear snow from the intersections and the sidewalks.
“Things went better than what we expected,” Hulsether said. “We anticipated more snow so I think we were overly prepared, which is good. These storms are hit or miss.”
Hulsether said the city hopes to start loading the snow piles in the middle of the streets in downtown Brainerd Thursday, and the job will take a few days and could be completed by early next week. The city will haul the snow to its storm water pond site off Southwest Sixth Street.
The National Weather Service reports there is a chance for additional snow Thursday and Friday in the lakes area, although percentages diminish to flurries by the weekend. Expect a spring-like melt as highs are expected to reach 40 degrees beneath mostly sunny skies by Tuesday. Followed by a slight chance for rain and snow Wednesday.
Even though the full fury of the storm passed Brainerd, the snowfall left enough on the ground to gladden a snowmobiler’s heart without overly stressing the hearts of shovelers.