Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Approaching snowstorm changes Christmas plans in Minnesota December 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:19 AM

ALREADY, SOUTH DAKOTA Governor Mike Rounds has declared a state of emergency as the Midwest prepares for a major winter snowstorm.

This predicted storm is impacting all of us. Earlier this week I e-mailed my daughter who lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and advised her to travel home to Faribault on Tuesday rather than Wednesday. She listened.

I also e-mailed my daughter who lives in south Minneapolis and suggested she drive home after work Wednesday rather than waiting until Thursday. She’s listening too.

We’re all preparing for a storm that is expected to dump up to a foot or more of heavy, wet snow on Minnesota. That, combined with strong winds, will make travel treacherous, if not impossible.

In southwestern Minnesota, where my family was slated to journey on Christmas Day for the Kletscher holiday gathering, I bet authorities will swing snow gates across highways. In that part of the state, winds can whip even an inch of snow into a blizzard or white-out conditions. I grew up there, on the wide open prairie, and I understand the dangers.

As anticipated, I received an e-mail this morning from my oldest brother and his wife, who live in Westbrook and are hosting this year’s gathering: “Just wanted to connect with everyone to see what your thoughts are about rescheduling Kletscher Christmas. The way the weather sounds it doesn’t sound like anyone will be going anyplace…”

Probably not.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had to reschedule the Kletscher Christmas due to snowy weather. And two years ago, we drove 40 mph all the way from Vesta to Mankato on slippery, snow-covered roads during a Christmas Day snowfall. Thankfully the final 40-mile stretch to Faribault was better.

As much as I would like to spend Christmas with my extended family, I value more the safety of those I love. Besides I will be with my family—my husband and our three children. That is truly a gift in itself, especially since last year, my daughter, Miranda, was in Argentina for Christmas.

Wherever you are this holiday season, be safe and cherish the time spent with loved ones.


ORGANIZERS OF THE CHRISTMAS EVE service at historic Valley Grove Church near Nerstrand have wisely canceled that event. In an e-mail I just received, Gary Wagenbach of the Valley Grove Preservation Society writes: “Ken Sahlin and I have reviewed weather and other relevant details and decided on cancellation of our planned, and nicely prepared, Christmas Eve service. Forecasts call for sleet, snow (lots), and the person who plows the church drive doesn’t want the responsibility under the expected conditions.”

I anticipate many more churches will cancel Christmas Eve and/or Day services. So keep your radio tuned for the latest in cancellations and postponements.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


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