Minnesota Ice

A pleasant spring was interrupted by a nasty storm last week that resulted in numerous downed power lines around Tracy and hundreds of fallen tree branches in town. The photo above taken on Craig Ave. speaks volumes about last week’s weather. Easily more than a dozen power poles along County Road 9 snapped last week. Those that didn’t were simply frozen. Photo / Per Peterson

Last week’s blizzard lead to widespread power outages

Spring snow storm made a mess of things all over

Thunder, lightning, rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind and even a little bit of fog.

Just another April week in southwest Minnesota.

You should know the drill by now.

A year ago at about this time, a snowstorm spanning three days — April 13-15 — dumped two feet of snow in and around Tracy. And now this year, a spring season that had seen little precipitation took a dramatic turn last week, as downright balmy temperatures and sunshine Monday were replaced by clouds and a cold breeze Tuesday. Then came Wednesday and what everyone was hoping wouldn’t: a return to a nightmarish winter.

And the latest chapter of the nightmare that re-started Wednesday lasted through the day Friday — the second straight day that saw tree limbs succumb to the weight of ice, snap and fall to the ground all over town.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.

PAR Electrical Contractors from Kansas City work along County Road 11, a few miles south of Tracy on Saturday. Downed power poles were a common sight in ditches across the area, thanks to last week’s spring snow/ice storm.

Electrical crews from as far away as Kansas and Kentucky converged to help restore power

A fleet of 40 PAR Electrical Contractors, Inc. vehicles from Kansas City, MO, converged in the Tracy Area High School parking lot on Friday afternoon before dispersing all over Tracy and parts south of town to assist Xcel Energy in its efforts to bring power back to the area.

Workers from Kentucky were also in the area to help with the power issues.

The main problem areas were south of Tracy.

Jim Keul reported that there were a total of 43 power poles down from a line from Pine Street to the Tracy Sportsmen’s Club on Thursday afternoon.

“Xcel Energy put a mutual assistance call in for this whole area,” said PAR Supt. Chris Stahlherber. “We were dispatched out of the Sioux Falls office. They sent us up here, because I have a particularly large group of contractors. With the extent of damage you got here they sent the largest group they could find.”

The group of 60 PAR workers worked all over the area, with many of them spending time south of town. PAR normally builds and installs power lines, but mutual assistance calls like the one for Tracy take them from their job and all over the country, whether it’s responding after tornadoes, hurricanes, or ice storms.

“For an ice event, this is a decent size,” Stahlherber said. “This isn’t horrendous, but it’s a sizable event.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.