The big dig: Snow removal begins after storm
As forecast, the snow started and didn't show signs of stopping. Friday, residents were busy digging out--shovels, snowblowers, snowplows--all in a battle to make paths through the heavy powder. The weather gauge at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Ai...
As forecast, the snow started and didn't show signs of stopping.
Friday, residents were busy digging out-shovels, snowblowers, snowplows-all in a battle to make paths through the heavy powder.
The weather gauge at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport recorded a continuous mixture of light snow, freezing fog, heavier snow and mist from just before 8 p.m. Wednesday to just before 8 a.m. Friday when blowing snow was listed.
The heaviest snowfall cut a swath across the state from the southwest to the tip of the Arrowhead, where the storm saved its greatest snowfall for the communities along the North Shore. Finland had the state's highest recorded snowfall with 2 feet, followed by Grand Marais with nearly 22 inches.
City, county and state officials urged travelers to stay off the roads. For those who had to get out and drive, slippery intersections and snowplow humps were challenges. The city of Brainerd declared a snow emergency in preparation for the storm. Travel conditions were dicey with numerous scanner reports even as the weather cleared Friday of vehicles off the road and requests for tow trucks.
While Crow Wing County Engineer Tim Bray said the county responded well to the Christmas week snowstorm, he told the Dispatch conditions were increasingly challenging for plow drivers around the clock for two days to clear snow and ice while temperatures plummeted below 15 degrees, or essentially the threshold when de-icing chemicals start to become ineffective.
"There's still some residual ice and stuff on the roadways," Bray said. "We've been out since 1 a.m. to get ahead of commuter traffic and get the majority of the storm's ice and snow off the road before it gets too cold. We have to get that compaction off the road as much as possible for that 15-degree mark."
Those removing snow had brief sunshine but cold temperatures accompanying the task by Friday. After a high temperature of 22 degrees after midnight Thursday, temperatures began to fall steadily Friday morning, dropping to 10 degrees before 10 a.m. with a wind chill of 10 below zero.
Saturday's high may reach 12 degrees and gusting winds overnight will add to the frigid conditions. Sunday should provide a brief warmup with highs expected to reach 29 degrees. But cold will usher 2018 out and welcome the new year.
"Temperatures will plummet well below zero across central, north-central, and northeast Minnesota," the National Weather Service in Duluth reported of expectations for Friday night. "Cold wind chills of at least 10 to 20 below zero will develop across the area, and very cold wind chills are expected along and near the higher terrain of the Minnesota North Shore.
"There is another chance of accumulating snow across much of northern Minnesota Sunday night and Monday. At this time, amounts generally between 1 and 4 inches appear possible."
The forecast calls for blustery conditions and a cold New Year's Eve when the low temperature may drop into double digits below zero. Highs on New Year's Day may stop at 2 below and hasten back to an overnight low of 15 below.
"Dangerously cold wind chills between 25 and 40 below zero are possible New Year's Eve night and New Year's Day, and again Wednesday morning," The weather service reported.
The cold snap may not be one that lasts for days on end. Temperatures may moderate by Jan. 4 with party sunny skies and a high that could rise to 34 degrees.
13 inches-Fort Ripley
12.5 inches-East Gull Lake
12 inches-Pine River
11.5 inches-Lake Shore
10 inches-Little Falls