Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

From Faribault: Awaiting a blizzard February 23, 2019

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A digital blizzard warning posted at Walgreens along Minnesota State Highway 60/Fourth Street in Faribault today.

 

AS I WRITE, the weather offers no hint of what is to come. Except for grey skies.

The temp is 32 degrees. Melting snow and ice drip from the roof. Roads are clearing in the warmth of the day.

But, oh, how deceiving. Southern Minnesota, from western border to eastern, is in a blizzard warning beginning later today and continuing well into tomorrow. My county of Rice could get up to 10 inches of snow.

That southeastern Minnesota is in a blizzard warning is a rarity. I expect this in western Minnesota. Not here. But fierce winds are predicted, swirling that snow, creating white-out conditions and poor travel.

Be safe out there. And heed the warnings.

Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

 

From Faribault: Latest snowstorm, soon-to-be-blizzard, begins February 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 3:50 PM
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THE WEATHER FORECASTERS were right.

As I snapped this photo from my living room window, this pick-up truck slid on the snowy street.

As I snapped this photo from my living room window awhile ago, this pick-up truck slid on the snowy street.

Heavy, wet snow began falling in Faribault about 90 minutes ago, shortly after lunch.

Mega flakes fell initially, but have now decreased in size.

Mega flakes fell initially, but have now decreased in size. This is another shot taken through a front window of my Faribault home.

It began as a beautiful snow globe snow.

Neither rain nor snow...later than usual mail delivery in my neighborhood.

Neither rain nor snow…later than usual mail delivery in my neighborhood.

But as we Minnesotans know, this is the heaviest to shovel, the most challenging to remove without plugging the snowblower, the type of snow that really slicks the roads. (Be careful out there.)

A blizzard warning remains in effect for my area and most of southeastern Minnesota until noon Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

As soon as the snow began, my neighbor girl was outside building a snowman and a snow fort.

As soon as the snow began, my neighbor girl slipped outside to build a snowman and a snow fort. Faribault schools were closed today because of the impending blizzard. Photo shot through a second story window in my home.

Fun times…

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Blizzard warning January 26, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 4:19 PM
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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

 

Snow in Minnesota, again February 20, 2011

UP UNTIL ABOUT 45 minutes ago, snow was falling fast and furious here in Faribault, at a rate of an inch an hour.

Visibility had dwindled to a block in town. As for the country, I wouldn’t even want to guess.

But now, shortly after noon, the snow flakes aren’t as thick or as heavy and conditions have improved. Perhaps this is simply a lull in a storm predicted to drop up to 15 inches of snow here in southeastern Minnesota, more in southwestern Minnesota, “more” being 20 inches.

My area of Minnesota is currently under a winter storm warning until noon Monday.

In southwestern Minnesota, where my mom and other family members live, a blizzard warning has been issued. Snow and winds have created difficult driving conditions and low visibility on the prairie, according to information I just read on the Minnesota Department of Transportation website. I expect that snow gates, if they have not already been lowered across roads like Minnesota State Highway 19, will soon be put in place. That means you do not travel those roadways without the risk of a hefty fine. Prairie people, for the most part, understand the dangers of traveling in a blizzard and stay put.

I expect to spend my day holed up at home, wrapping up writing projects for Minnesota Moments’ spring issue. It’s a good day to do that and a good way to avoid working on income tax. I detest rounding up tax information and, this year, have put off the awful numbers task longer than normal.

On the way home from church, my husband and I stopped at the grocery store, a busy place at 10 a.m. As we entered the store, we were greeted by a shopper who just smiled and said, “Here we go again.” He was, of course, referring to the snow.

Then, a half hour later as we exited the store with our bread and other food packed into three bags, a cart-pusher, who was struggling to gather grocery carts in the snowy parking lot, declared, “Winter all over again.”

See the common word in their statements? That would be “again.”

Yup, here we go again.

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR reports about weather conditions in your area. So submit a comment.

 

I APOLOGIZE for the lack of current photos, but I am without my Canon for a week while it is being cleaned.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling