Filed under: blizzard, cold, house, Ice, Minnesota, rain, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter | Tags: cold, Minnesota, rain, rivers and lakes, school bus, snow, south windows, southwestern minnesota, travel, weather, wind, winter
The weatherman was predicting blizzard-like conditions for Southwestern Minnesota this morning, but again the predicted moisture did not come. Our “snow” came mostly as rain, and fell not in the middle of the night, but just as the sun was starting to rise. Overnight winds waited until after the rain to change from south to north and we have ice all over again, including quite a bit of ice on our south windows. Morning temperatures were near freezing, but dropped quickly when the winds switched.
Last week we had an unusual occurrence for us, it rained over an inch in one day! It has indeed been a long time since that much rain fell in a 24 hour period. Since the rains fell on frozen ground, we will not get much good out of it. The rain melted a lot of the snow we had left and quickly ran down into the low spots. This meant a quick rise to our rivers and lakes. Most bodies of water now have open water on the edges, or in the case of rivers, could be ice free. Now we are going to have a few days of cold and wind.
This mornings driving was also tricky with ice on most roads. I had to follow a snow plow/sander as I left town on my bus route which made me late for a few of my stops, but I was able to make it up on the gravel roads. Paved roads were ice covered despite the attempts of county and state to remove the ice.
Now as the wind howls, the sun has come out. If you can find a place out of the wind it isn’t too bad out. I however have a few inside chores to do and will stay in the warm until I have to go.
Filed under: blizzard, cold, Farm, Minnesota, snow, travel, weather, weather wisdom, wind, winter | Tags: clothing, cold, farm, Minnesota, nature, safety, travel, weather, wind, wind chills, winter, winter clothing
The winds are a howling in our grove and the little bit of snow they can find is making life difficult. With wind speeds of 30 to 40 mph and temperatures near zero, we now have wind chill ratings of 20 below with sunrise wind chills near 30 below. This is not a night to be stranded out in the open.
We live on U.S. highway 71, so usually we can count on some relatively easy driving conditions. The plows gets out and opens these main roads early. Tonight the highway patrol has closed 71 from Windom to Willmar. Local police have even stopped in at high school basketball games to tell folks about the danger of being out tonight. This is serious.
Unfortunately I am prone to thinking I am an exception. After all I’m a Minnesota farm boy, we’ve had to be out doing chores in stuff like this most of my life. Now I’ve seen people who will brave winter in shorts and a tee shirt, I’m here to tell you that I am not one of those people. I know how to dress for the weather. If the wind blows you need protection.As I age the weather seems to affect me more and more. Oh yeah, a quick trip out to the mail box or the wood pile may see me with just shoes and a hooded coat but long pants are always part of the winter gear, when the winter wind blows you need layers! Insulated boots and heavy socks for the feet are mandatory, maybe even two pairs of socks. I have several pair of felt lined jeans that can go under insulated bib coveralls for the lower body. A cotton tee with a heavy flannel shirt goes under a heavy hooded coat to cover the upper body. I usually make do with a baseball cap, but when the wind really blows I have a head band I put over my ears to keep the cap on. If it’s really cold the cap is replaced by a stocking cap to keep the head warm, that’s all under that hood. Don’t forget the heavy gloves or mittens with a pair of cotton gloves underneath for the colder weather. If you want to survive a Minnesota blizzard even this may not be enough, but at least you will stay warm if you can find a place to get out of the wind once in a while.
So when the wind blows like today, I’d advise you not to be out in Minnesota. Some of us have to work here, and we’ll dress for the weather, but even we will not be far from shelter for long.
Filed under: blizzard, cars, Christmas, cold, family, Minnesota, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter | Tags: Christmas, cold, Minnesota, snow, weather, wind, winter
The weather services are reminding us of how much snow we had in past years at this time. No snow so far is OK with me. This being Minnesota the snow will come, just as the cold is starting to take hold of the area. Cold does not make it winter for many of us, snow does.
Memories of winter for a Minnesotan always include snow. There are the large snowdrifts that bordered roads and overtopped fences, cars buried beneath snow and slipping down the road in a flurry of blown snow, snowmobiles, skis, and skates, these make winter. Braving raging winds and blowing snow to get to grandma’s house for Christmas are memories that will live forever. When snow does not fall, we talk of how short the winter seems. When driving is not a challenge, we relive the trips that most challenged us, the near accidents and fender-benders because of snow covered roads.
I’ll take these snowless days. I’m hoping for a brown Christmas. The work load is less with no snow. Yes, a white Christmas looks nice, but it sure is a lot of extra work.
Filed under: blizzard, cold, Minnesota, seasons, snow, travel, weather, winter | Tags: cold, Minnesota, snow, trees, weather
It’s snowing again. If it doesn’t move it gets covered by snow.
I guess it shouldn’t be such a shock, it is after all Minnesnowta and it is winter, but this is getting to be a bit much. Some areas of southwestern Minnesota, northwest Iowa and eastern South Dakota could have over 10 inches before this storm is done tonight.
So far we don’t have much wind. Out here in the prairie that is the true devil in the weather details. Ten inches of soft fluffy snow is really kind of beautiful. When the wind whips it around it gets to be deadly stuff.
For those of you not from Minnesnowta, don’t believe the hype that we have 9 months of winter and 3 months of tough sledding. Yes, it can snow as early as September, and as late as June, but really our weather is not a lot different than Chicago, Boston or New York. We may get a few “wild hair” storms, but snow rarely comes to stay before December and is gone by April.
Here’s the real kicker, we have the equipment to move the snow we get, fast. When folks from a warmer climate get an inch of snow, they are traumatized, we get 10 inches and it has been moved out of the way of commerce the next morning.
So welcome to Minnesnowta folks. Come visit our lakes, forests and wonderful cities. We have something fun for you to do any month of the year. However, if you cannot handle a little snow in the winter, just send your money.
Filed under: blizzard, cars, cold, Farm, rain, science, seasons, snow, travel, weather, winter | Tags: farm, rain, snow, weather, wind
With all of our technology humans like to think that they can control everything around them. After all we have heated and air conditioned homes, cars and workplaces. We go where ever we want in our cars, trains and planes. So when there is a flood, mudslide, volcanic eruption or snow storm that stops us we are indignant. The truth is we are not in charge.
As a farmer I live closer to the earth. Yes, I have A/C and heat in my home, tractor and combine, but I live with the weather. Many of my jobs are dictated by the weather. We have jobs that stop when it rains. Hot, cold or dry weather can reduce our harvest. Snow storms mean extra work. Windy conditions can stop certain jobs and too much wind will damage our buildings and crops. We know that we are not in charge.
Mankind has not yet conquered the weather despite all of his technology. The next time you find yourself delayed or stopped by the weather, just remember, you are not in charge. We on the farm live with that realization every day.
Filed under: blizzard, cars, Christmas, church, cold, family, food, Ice, Minnesota, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter | Tags: car, cars, children, cold, Food, Minnesota, snow, weather, wind
I grew up on and still live on the prairie here in Southwestern Minnesota. For me winter snow and blow is commonplace. It has been a long time since I experienced a big city snow storm, I got into a real big one this past weekend.
Our older girl was playing the blue angel in her churches Christmas pageant. This is a big pageant with a 100 plus voice choir, an orchestra and several soloists and actors who play the parts in their Christmas story. This is her third Christmas at this church and the second as the blue angel. We decided it would be fun to go see her again. Since my mom and dad had not yet left for Texas, and my wife’s parents wanted to go also we decided to make a party of the trip. Then Minnesota happened.
The weather forecast for Saturday was for a major snow and blow event, so we reserved rooms at a nearby hotel and went up on Friday night. The less than a mile trip would be easy even in the snow. My, oh my, what snow.
With tickets for the 3:00 show, we spent the morning watching the snow fall. We also watched the poor guy removing snow in the parking lot work all morning and not get anywhere. The snow just continued to build up.
As the snow piles grew, the practice for the show was delayed. Our daughter called to say she was stuck in the driveway of her apartment. Could we please come help her. Our GMC is 4-wheel drive, so we drove over to dig her out. Her Saturn was just outside of the parking lot on the street. A little shoveling and we got her back into the parking lot. There the car would sit until Sunday morning.
We took Beth to practice, found some food for our crew to eat, and got ready to see the show. Because of the snow, our GMC got shuttle duty. Due to the attempts of all of the private snow removal companies, and all of the city and state equipment, some of the snow had been removed. It was still a case of follow the ruts. Streets were narrow and corners were hard to see around. Changing streets meant driving through a mound of snow. It would have been a good day to stay home.
About 60 of the expected 300 people made the show. The evening show and church service were cancelled. The cast applauded us for even making it to the show. Now it was time to shuttle folks back to the hotel.
Our group had now grown to 10. We needed something to eat. The GMC was again called into action as we went for dinner. We pulled into Arby’s and got stuck, and they were CLOSED! Dig out and go for plan B. After a trip to the grocery store we had the fixings for a great meal. We sat and watched the snow fall as we polished off most of the food. Now it was time for games.
Six of us had rooms, four needed to go home. Paul and Jeni went home and had to wade through waist deep snow to get into their house. The driveway took hours to clear. Michael almost made it home. He dug his car out of a drift, and came back to the hotel. Beth just stayed in our room.
Sunday morning Beth and I went to rescue her car. She has an underground garage space, so we dug her car out and pushed her down the hill. The cars needed some major thawing. While Beth got ready for church, I dug snow out of the cars.
By Sunday morning the metro area streets were open. By the time we went to church it was possible for most cars to travel, so the GMC shuttle had less to do. After lunch and a little shopping, we drove home.
Most of the trip home was uneventful, but as we got closer to home, we found the roads turned into ice. The last 20 miles were on polished ice. Anyone who attempted a turn or a stop could easily end up in the ditch. Tow trucks and rescue workers were very busy along the road.
My yard had snow in it, but the tractor was warm and the blower moved the snow out in short order. While the others had dinner, I went to clean out my dad’s yard. When that was done, and everyone was home, we could at last sleep.
Lessons learned from my Metro adventure.
- Minnesotan’s don’t know when to stay home. The number of cars on the road at the height of the storm was amazing.
- Not all Minnesotan’s have a 4X4 to use when the snow gets deep, but they go anyway. They all pretend they know how to drive in snow.
- Tires make all the difference. We saw people getting stuck because they had bald tires. Good tires can mean moving when all others are stuck.
- If you do get stuck, someone will help get you out. They will jump out of their car and dig and push until you are on your way.
- Restaurants will close when the weather gets bad, but the grocery will still be open. People were working overtime to keep the grocery store open and people fed when they all should have been home safe and warm.
- Keep your tank full. You never know when a quick trip will change into a long wait for a road to open, or a rescue truck to come.
It was fun being in the metro for this historic storm, but next time I think I’ll just stay home. I prefer to be near to my own equipment when the snow falls and the wind blows.
Filed under: blizzard, cold, Farm Bureau, Minnesota, School bus, snow, time, weather, winter
We just got the call that school will be two hours late again tomorrow. That brings us up to 7 missed days and 9 shortened days.
School was called off about 10:30 this morning. It turns out that that was the height of the storm. Karen got home by following a semi. It was hard to see much of anything at that time.
It creates a bit of a problem for me. I’m due at the Farm Bureau Council of Presidents meeting in St. Paul at 1:00. I had planned on leaving here about 9:30. I do not get off of route until a bit after 10:00 when school runs late. I will need to move snow in the morning also. I’ve had to get a sub for my route tomorrow.
Filed under: blizzard, cold, Minnesota, snow, weather, weather wisdom, winter
We’ve had little snow in the last few days and life has been a bit easier here in Southwestern Minnesota. Now the winds have started again.
For the last few days, light winds have caused some problems and accidents on roads in the area, but the wind has been mostly light. Today the wind speed is expected to be gusting over 40 mph. This has started some heavy drifting on our already stressed roads.
Although road crews have been doing a great job keeping roads open, there has just not been enough time between blows to do a proper job. Many county roads have not been opened up enough and the cuts will drift shut again. Add to that the wind and every trip into the country becomes a game of Russian Roulette. Which snow filled cut will get you? Will there be another car in there?
So drive carefully out there when the wind blows, or better yet stay home if you can.
Filed under: blizzard, cold, Ice, Minnesota, snow, travel, weather, winter
With the snow blowing winds we have had here in Southwestern Minnesota travel conditions have been a bit difficult. The canyons of snow left behind as plows try to keep the roads open can get to be really big.
The one lane tracks on more traveled roads need to be carefully approached.
In some places the plow has been through but the road is open only for a 4 wheel drive and a lot of luck.
Folks in town have fared only slightly better with some deep cuts on the north side of town.
There are piles of snow that can hide a house.
And piles of snow that can hide a business.
Side walks are hidden from the street by mounds of snow.
Church parking lots have mountains of snow in them.
All of this makes the five feet or so of snow I have beside my driveway insignificant.
But the waves of snow in a field can still be quite a sight to see.
Travel safe, stay warm and stay out of those canyons of snow.
Filed under: blizzard, cold, Minnesota, snow, travel, weather, weather wisdom, winter
I just heard a Twin Cities area station weatherman talk about fairly strong winds of 12 mph. He just doesn’t understand wind at all. Folks who do not live on the prairie or sail the oceans need to spend some time where the wind does blow.
Our area is putting up wind generators all over the place. We have an average wind speed here of 14 mph. I really don’t consider there to be a wind blowing until it passes 20 mph, before that it’s only a breeze.
This winter we’ve had some real winds. Todays average speed wind was over 25 with gusts of over 35 mph. We’ve had wind gusts this winter topping 50 mph. Now that is wind. Snow is just ground drifting at 25 mph. When you have 45 to 50 mph winds you can really get snow airborne.
In the summer time I really watch the wind speed. When it is time to spray the fields I need wind speeds of 14 mph or less. I’ve had many a day that I could only spray before mid morning or maybe later in the afternoon. Too high of wind speeds can lay a corn field flat. That’s why corn varieties need strong roots around here.
Those folks at the TV weather stations need to get out and experience real wind. I’d be glad to explain wind to them anytime.