Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A Groundhog Day snowstorm socks Minnesota February 3, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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A City of Faribault truck plows snow on the street past my house Tuesday afternoon.

A City of Faribault truck plows snow on the street past my house Tuesday afternoon.

MINNESOTA HUNKERED DOWN on Groundhog Day during the first major winter storm of the season.

In the southwestern corner, nearer the Iowa and South Dakota borders, Interstate 90 closed as did all state highways south of U.S. Highway 14 due to white-out conditions. I grew up in that prairie area and fully appreciate the power and dangers of a blizzard.

In my county of Rice, we received about eight inches of snow—according to the husband’s snow-clearing estimates—by early evening. Randy reported icy, snow-compacted lanes and drifting snow on Minnesota State Highway 3, his route home from work in Northfield.

For Minnesota kids, Tuesday was a day off from classes. Many schools announced closings already Monday evening in anticipation of the storm.

Some businesses closed early. Activities were canceled. There was no bingo at the Eagles in Faribault, no euchre at the Morristown Legion, no LeSueur County Cattlemen’s annual meeting.

This morning we resume the task of clearing away snow.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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30 Responses to “A Groundhog Day snowstorm socks Minnesota”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    I miss carefree snow days as a child. They were days of soak outerwear from sledding all day long.

  2. Mike Says:

    Like you, I grew up to respect this time of year and the hazards it can bring. I just had a discussion w/ someone who insisted that its much more dangerous to be in a city vs a rural setting during winter because there are more cars here. Then it was brought up how unfair it is that the kids in the outstate towns were getting out earlier or having their classes cancelled for the day. However, she’s never been outside of St. Paul in the winter haha.

    • Well, you and I know better, don’t we? I’ve ridden home in a school bus packed with kids, one standing on the bus steps, bus door open, watching the road so the driver didn’t go into the ditch in white-out conditions. That bus should never have been allowed to leave the shelter of Wabasso. I’ve ridden into town on my dad’s John Deere tractor (no cab) to reach the local cafe and the bus waiting there so I could go to school 20 miles away in Redwood Falls. No buses were driving on rural routes. I’ve signed up for a “snow home” in town lest country kids like me not be able to get home in a snowstorm. I’ve hunkered down for a week in a cold farmhouse when a snow and ice storm left rural folks without electricity. I’ve seen, felt and experienced the power of a prairie blizzard. Nope, the city is definitely not more dangerous than rural areas in a winter storm.

      • Mike Says:

        Wow. You have seen far worse than I did! I lived on the edge of a small town and getting snowed in and that was bad. Also remember being stranded on my Grandmothers farm for a couple days seeing nothing but white. Couldn’t drive anywhere but the huge drifts made for some great forts! My Dad has a picture from the 50s of him and my uncles by their dairy barn and the snow had drifted up to a point where they were walking up and sledding off the roof of it.

      • Oh, yes, I remember drifts of that height, higher than the milk truck, too. I remember drifts that high along Minnesota Highway 19 between Vesta and Redwood Falls, where I attended junior high. Only one lane was blown open in many areas. Oh, yes, I can tell stories. I rather sound like an old-timer this morning.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    The worst of it slid north of us – in your direction. My wife was grumbling this morning. We did all the things you need to do to prepare for a blizzard. We made sure we had firewood and water in case the electricity went out. She worked late on Monday so she could leave early yesterday – and I got up this morning to blow snow and scout our gravel road to see if she could make it out to the state highway.

    All for naught, we didn’t get hit that hard. She called it a “wussy blizzard”.

    Glad it was.

  4. Probably best to stay indoors and snuggle with your favorite blanket 🙂 I do not miss the “white stuff”. We started with fog and 91% percent humidity yesterday morning, but then turned into a warm, sunshiney day. Not to rub it in. I enjoy snow just not driving in it, especially that white knuckle kind of driving. Stay Warm!

  5. And to think just the other day you were regaling in the warmth of January.. Well, Punxsutawney Phil says spring is on its way.. Cheer up.

  6. Same story here. Bright and sunny out today

  7. Don Says:

    I received a new snow blower for Christmas and wouldn’t you know it I have been unable to use it because the last measurable snow we received here was before Christmas! Your picture brings back memories of a cup of Hot Chocolate, a warm fire and sitting back watching and listening to the wind blow. Enjoyable as long as you didn’t have to deal directly with the storm and its associated problems. I remember as a kid those “Minnesota Blows” and your stories Audrey, bring back many memories. As the song goes “Thanks for the Memory”

  8. Norma Says:

    I would like to experience a snow storm just once before I die We had about six inches January 25, 1997.. It was so pretty.

  9. Jackie Says:

    We got about the same amount here in Rochester when it was all said and done. Today was beautiful with the blue sky and bright white snow.

  10. I honestly don’t know how much we got in SW MN – the wind made it almost impossible to tell. In a sheltered part of our front porch there was maybe 7 inches but it sure felt like more than that with the winds! We had two day off of school…which now means two make up days. So no vacation on Presidents Day and one less Spring Break day. Bummer.


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