Local communities were impacted by what people are hoping was the last snow storm of the season.
Le Sueur County, along with Nicollet and Waseca, were each impacted by the most recent winter storm warning that started Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather watch — including Nicollet, Le Sueur, Blue Earth, Waseca, Rice and Steele counties as well as others across the region — taking effect 7 p.m. Wednesday, with the expectation of the storm bringing 4 to 9 inches of snow and 55 mph winds to the area by Thursday night.
The highest recorded wind in the state was a 58 mile-per-hour gust recorded in Redwood Falls.
But expectations were a little off as the snow started falling and blowing, creating low visibility, starting at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. By the late morning, many roads in Le Sueur and Nicollet counties were reported to be partially or completely covered by snow.
Snow then turned to sleet on Thursday, and with blowing snow creating low visibility, the roads became dangerous.
By late afternoon Thursday, road conditions seemed to be improving, though some remained closed and the Minnesota Department of Transportation was still reporting several at least partially covered by snow and/or ice.
There were a number of spinouts and crashes reported on state roads throughout Wednesday and Thursday and power outages and tree damage were cited throughout the region due to ice and high winds.
From 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the Minnesota State Patrol reported that it responded to 561 vehicle crashes (60 with injury), 751 vehicles spun out or off the road and 60 jackknifed semis throughout the state.
The figure that sticks out is the number of jackknifed semis throughout the state.
“Troopers are responding to more jackknifed semis than I can remember, most of which, the trailers are empty or light loads,” State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow wrote Thursday on Twitter.
Outages impacted hundreds of Xcel Energy customers in Le Sueur and Sibley counties Thursday, but those issues were resolved, according to Xcel, by Friday. However, rural electric cooperatives in Le Sueur and Nicollet counties were reporting outages they anticipated might take a few days to fix.
If you saw a tan color in the snow, the NWS reports that it could be dust blown from west Texas by the high winds. The NWS said on Twitter that satellite images “showed considerable blowing dust in west Texas that was drifting northward due to very strong winds from the deepening low pressure system.”
The snowfall continued through Friday morning, though at a much lighter level and snow had stopped falling by the afternoon. The weekend then became warmer and many areas saw much of the snow melt by Monday morning.