Last weekend, southwest Minnesota was pummeled by a surprise April blizzard, shattering records and leaving residents trapped indoors for much of the weekend.
According to meteorologists, the winter storm was “historic” and impacted nearly the entire state. The National Weather Service reported that Granite Falls received an average of 17 inches of snow during the storm. Other local communities received similar numbers. Canby got 19 inches while Montevideo received as much as 20.5 inches.
Other areas were a little luckier. Willmar, for example, escaped the worst of the snowfall, receiving between 8 and 9 inches (closer to the average for an April snowstorm). Strong winds approaching 30 mph made the snowfall even more noticeable, pushing the snow into large mounds that made post-storm clearing harder.
Strong winds and reduced visibility also made travel nearly impossible, and drivers were advised by the Department of Transportation to stay indoors throughout the storm. Many roads and highways were also closed due to weather conditions.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, there were a total of 558 crashes as of Sunday afternoon. 64 of those crashes resulted in injuries. One fatality was reported. There were an additional 1,058 vehicles that spun off the road and 20 semi-trucks that jackknifed.
By Monday, temperatures returned to the high 30’s, triggering a mass melting event. At press time, additional snowfall is predicted for Wednesday, April 18 for parts of southwestern Minnesota, though temperatures are predicted to steadily climb thereafter.