First big storm of 2020: 5.5” of snow and plenty of wind

WHILE A SUN DOG made for a picturesque view in the sky, things weren’t so pretty on the ground Saturday, as this huge drift formed at the intersection of Highline Road and Lyon County Road 14.

By Per Peterson

A major winter storm blew through southwest Minnesota on Friday and Saturday, dumping a total of 5.5” of fresh snow in Tracy — 2.1” Friday and 3.4” Saturday. All that snow was, of course, accompanied by very high winds, including gusts that reached 43 mph at 10:50 p.m. on Saturday. The wind persisted for the rest of the day. Knowing this, Lyon County pulled its plows Friday and reported they wouldn’t be back on the roads until Sunday.

The National Weather Service upgraded the winter storm watch to a blizzard warning Friday, because of the combination of snow, wind and a wind chill that was projected to fall to 30 below. The cold front resulted in a 24-degree drop in temperature from Friday to Saturday. The high on Sunday was only 2 above, with a low of -6; Monday’s high was 7, with an overnight low of -6.

Tracy Public Works Director Shane Daniels said his crew put in more than 80 hours plowing and moving snow to clear city streets between Friday and Sunday.

“On Friday we did the emergency routes only during the day — the way it was coming down, it wasn’t worth doing much more,” he said. “Saturday, we did the whole route. We knew we’d have to come back to do more later, but at least we wanted to get everything open so people could get around, get groceries, gas, whatever they need in town. Sunday, it was just getting everything cleaned up.”

Daniels said city crews hauled snow about four-and-a-half hours with four trucks Saturday morning.

The Tracy Police Department issued a snow emergency early Friday that was to last until 6 a.m. Monday, meaning on-street parking was prohibited all weekend.

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