Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hunkering down during a Minnesota blizzard December 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 2:58 PM
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My neighbor across the street shovels snow Saturday morning.

WELL, WELL, for the second weekend in a row, southern Minnesota has been socked with snow. A foot last weekend. Another foot, maybe more, for parts this weekend.

But round two brings with it a stronger punch—strong winds and dropping temps that make conditions out there downright dangerous. Windchills tonight are expected to plummet to a bone-chilling 35 degrees below zero.

In Rice County, where I live, county snowplows have been pulled from the roadways due to low visibility. Winds are whipping at about 30 mph.

I live in a valley in Faribault. So when conditions look bad at my place, I know it’s bad out there.

Today I’m hunkered down at home with my husband, Randy, and our 16-year-old son. Randy wasn’t too happy this morning when I suggested he stay home from work. (I was thinking of hiding the car keys.) But he heeded my advice and I’m thankful given he works 15 snowy miles away in Northfield. Of course, he tells me, “I could have made it there and back.”

Yeah, right. The job is not worth the risk of driving in blizzard conditions. And, yes, my area of Minnesota is under a blizzard warning.

I haven’t been outdoors yet. Randy has been out, blowing snow from our driveway and that of a neighbor. He thought it would be easier this way, clearing the snow twice rather than a foot or more all at once.

Our van, which is parked on the driveway, is encased in ice from the freezing rain and sleet that fell for several hours last evening.

All of our plans for the day have been abandoned. Our son should have been taking his ACT test, but that was canceled. The college entrance exams were canceled at more than 50 schools in Minnesota. The last time he was slated to take the test, he had to cancel because of bronchitis.

The Christmas Walk at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault is off, but the ice skating show set for 4 p.m. was still on the last I checked. I had hoped to attend both, but right now I really don’t feel like going anywhere.

The big batch of chili I cooked yesterday for tonight’s Family Game Night potluck at my church has gone into the freezer after that event was postponed. I’ll serve the chili at a family gathering next weekend…if we don’t have another blizzard and my guests can make it.

That’s life in Minnesota in winter, folks.

Traffic has picked up along my street in Faribault this afternoon despite blizzard conditions.

I've seen plenty of pickups with attached snowplows, like this, drive past my house today.

STAY SAFE this weekend. And if you don’t need to travel, don’t.

IF YOU HAVE any winter weather stories or weather condition reports to share from your area, please submit a comment. I’d like to hear from you.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


7 Responses to “Hunkering down during a Minnesota blizzard”

  1. Lori Clark Says:

    Hi Audrey, This is the first time in the 20 years that we have lived in the cities that everything is shutdown. Even when outstate MN has been shutdown, we city folk have still been able to continue with our daily activities. Haha. We are getting a good taste of the bad weather today:( I agree – be safe. Lori

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks for that weather report from the metro area, Lori.

      I just got a text message from my daughter in south Minneapolis and she reports about 15 inches of snow and a car stuck on the major arterial street where she lives.

      Vehicles also have become stuck on the hilly side street by our house. Right now visibility is limited to about one block. Winds have picked up considerably. Even the husband, who wanted to drive to work in Northfield this morning declared, “It’s bad out there.”

      Please do NOT venture out.

      And, send me your weather reports. Anyone out there in southwestern Minnesota, I’d love to hear from you.

  2. Amy Says:

    I’m in the Twin Cities in the ‘burbs, and our normally “plows on steroids” crews came through once early this morning, and haven’t been back. I’m guessing the city cried “uncle” and decided to wait until tomorrow–highly unusual.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Highly unusual, Amy, but very wise. The plows passed through on my main Faribault street early this morning and then again a few hours later. Haven’t seen any plows since. But that hasn’t stopped the traffic from plowing through the snow.

      Thanks for your report from the “burbs.”

      Let’s hear some more reports on weather and road conditions and plowing, or whatever blizzard-related stories you may want to share.

      • Amy Says:

        I grew up in northern MN and regularly had snow days; my oldest is a senior in high school, and he’s had exactly one. If we had to get this storm, sure would have been fun to have it on a school day.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Gotta love those snow days. We were teasing our high school junior son this morning about the storm happening on a weekend so he didn’t get a snow day. He did not find that amusing. Teens! Down here in Faribault, schools close occasionally in the winter, or at least “let out early.”

        I grew up on the southwestern Minnesota prairie, so do I ever know snow days. We had them often. There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned prairie blizzard. Walking from the house to the barn is even dangerous out there.

  3. Amy Says:

    Exactly! And our rural bus routes were pretty long and along some rather isolated roads. This being long before cell phones.

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