Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Wintry weather means sleeping at school for some Westbrook-Walnut Grove students January 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:11 PM

WHEN I WROTE ABOUT WEATHER in southwestern Minnesota earlier this morning, I had no idea a blizzard raged in that part of the state.

But then, around noon, I heard via news reports just how difficult travel and weather conditions are out west. My mom confirmed that in a late afternoon phone call. She lives in Vesta and, at times, can’t see the main drag a block from her house due to blowing snow. This is the worst conditions have been all winter, she says.

Snow gates have been placed across highways with no travel allowed. There have been numerous accidents.

Students from Westbrook-Walnut Grove, my mom tells me, were stranded at school. According to news reports I later read, the district attempted to bus students home already at 10:30 a.m. But by then, winds had increased, reducing visibility. Some parents picked up their kids, while other students went to “snow homes.”

For those of you not privy to the definition of a “snow home,” it’s a designated home where students go should they become stranded in town during a winter storm.

Those kids without a “snow home” are sleeping overnight at district school buildings in Westbrook and Walnut Grove, 15 miles apart.

The school cafeteria is well-stocked, wrestling mats have been pulled out and district staff are spending the night to comfort and plan activities for the stranded students, according to information from KLGR radio in Redwood Falls.

I’m just wondering if my nephew Adam, a Walnut Grove teacher, is among those attending the slumber party.

Near Redwood Falls, my cousin Sandy is wondering if her husband, Bill, can get to their rental farm, about five miles away, around midnight to check on the cattle. He’s hoping the wind dies down by then.

I e-mailed and suggested Bill tie a rope to his truck so that if he becomes lost in the blizzard, he can track the rope back home. I was only half kidding.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

2 Responses to “Wintry weather means sleeping at school for some Westbrook-Walnut Grove students”

  1. Douglas Kletscher Says:

    Just a note that Adam was snowed in in Walnut Grove and we had 2 school kids and 1 daycare kid here overnight. I came home at 1:30 and could only see about 5 feet in front of the pickup at times and sometimes could not see anything. We could not see a half a block at times.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Wow, brother Doug, that must have been some blizzard if you couldn’t see five feet in front of the pickup and sometimes not at all. However, knowing the prairie as I do, I’m not surprised. But, have you ever seen it that bad?

      I figured you might have some extra kids bunking at your house during the blizzard. I’m sure their parents appreciated the Kletscher Hotel.

      I’m glad to hear that Adam stayed safely put in the Walnut Grove school. That must have been quite the night with all those munchkins. I’m waiting to hear from him…

      Thanks for filling me in. Do you have any storm photos I can share with Minnesota Prairie Roots readers?


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