Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Blizzard warning January 26, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 4:19 PM
Tags: , , , , ,
A view from my front window around 4:30 p.m. shows reduced visibility due to blowing snow and fresh snow falling.

A view from my front window around 4:30 p.m. shows reduced visibility due to blowing snow and fresh snow falling.

UPDATE: 5:39 P.M.

WHILE PREPARING HOMEMADE lasagna, I listened to weather news on an Owatonna radio station. Here are snippets of the latest:

Extremely dangerous travel…travel with a winter survival kit.

Life-threatening windchills.

No plowing until the winds subside.

After the lasagna went into the oven, I stepped outside, ever so briefly, to snap a few photos from my yard as fierce winds flung snow and more snow fell from the heavy skies:

Shot from my back steps looking into my backyard and toward my neighbor's yard to the south.

Shot from my back steps looking into my backyard and toward my neighbor’s yard to the south.

Standing at the end of the driveway, I aimed my lens toward the side street past my corner house.

Standing at the end of the driveway, I aimed my lens toward the side street past my corner house.

And then I turned the other direction to photography Willow Street, a main arterial street in Faribault.

And then I turned the other direction to photograph Willow Street, a main arterial street in Faribault.

WRITTEN EARLIER, AROUND 2:30 P.M.

SNUGGED UNDER A FLEECE THROW in my home office, mug of hot chocolate to the right of my desk, fingertips resting on the computer keyboard, I glance outside.

The sun blazes, for the moment, upon a landscape that appears deceptively serene here in a valley in Faribault.

But then I shift my gaze higher, toward the sky and the tips of trees that reveal the truth in bending branches. Wind, oh, powerful wind. Occasionally snow blasts around the corner of the house.

My area of southeastern Minnesota, like much of the state, is currently in a blizzard warning. 

"The photograph, taken along Minnesota Highway 30 in southwestern Minnesota, photographed in January 2010..

“The photograph was taken along Minnesota Highway 30 in southwestern Minnesota  in January 2010. This gives you some idea of the landscape and how wind can whip snow. Conditions today are much, much worse than those shown in this image.

I google Minnesota 511 to learn of difficult driving conditions, spin-outs and crashes and a jackknifed semi along the stretch of Interstate 35 stretching from Burnsville to the Iowa border.

On television, I view footage of current conditions in the Northfield area 15 miles away. Visibility is poor with blowing snow on I-35.

Across the border in North Dakota, Interstate 94 between Fargo and Bismarck has been closed. The Fargo Forum currently lists 294 severe weather related announcements.

In my native southwestern Minnesota, U.S. Highway 71 has been closed. I expect it won’t be long before snow gates are pulled across other roadways as conditions deteriorate.

I will phone my mom shortly, as I do every Sunday. I expect she will tell me church services were cancelled. Again. Too many Sundays already in recent weeks, services at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Vesta, and in other southwestern Minnesota prairie communities, have been cancelled because of the cold and/or snow. When wind whips snow across the open landscape of that region, it is not safe to be out and about.

Tomorrow, once this blizzard ends at midnight, temps will plunge into the deep freeze again. Nearly unbearable cold.

Xcel Energy natural gas customers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin are being asked to conserve energy after a pipeline rupture in Canada early Saturday morning. (Click here to read details.)

What a winter this has been already. To think, last Sunday the temp registered a balmy 40 degrees…

Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling