March sunlight beats back blizzard
MINNEAPOLIS -- Take that, Punxsutawney Phil. After a blizzard warning didn't quite yield the hazardous conditions expected, it looks like Minnesota and the Dakotas won't be getting the full six weeks of winter the prognosticating groundhog said w...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Take that, Punxsutawney Phil.
After a blizzard warning didn't quite yield the hazardous conditions expected, it looks like Minnesota and the Dakotas won't be getting the full six weeks of winter the prognosticating groundhog said we would.
Sure, there were parts of Minnesota and South Dakota that got heavy snowfall. Alexandria recorded more than 6 inches and Interstate 94 west of Minneapolis was closed temporarily because of numerous accidents, including one fatal crash on that stretch of highway.
Authorities said one person died Tuesday morning after a multivehicle crash on Interstate 94 in Wright County in central Minnesota.
The State Patrol said the 44-year-old driver of an SUV was killed after a semi struck several vehicles, which then struck other cars. The victim of the 9:45 a.m. crash was identified as Holly Hoglund Klein of Maple Grove. At least two other motorists suffered minor injuries in the crash.
I-94 was closed in both directions just west of Hasty. The interstate later reopened.
Most of eastern South Dakota and southern Minnesota got 3 to 5 inches of snow.
The wind did get rough in South Dakota, too, with the strongest wind gusts in Watertown and Aberdeen at more than 40 mph, according to meteorologist Dan Mohr with the NWS's Aberdeen office.
"It was a short blizzard, but it was a blizzard," he said.
A blizzard warning was issued overnight that stretched from east-central South Dakota across the Interstate 35 corridor south of Minneapolis, but the Minnesota portion ended up missing out on the hallmarks of a blizzard -- namely blowing snow, said Tony Zaleski, a NWS meteorologist with the agency's Twin Cities office.
"We had much wetter snow that we expected, and there was that strong March sunshine that helped," he said. "Winds were also a lot weaker than we expected, so we dropped that blizzard warning like a bad habit."
Couple this with temperatures forecast near the freezing point this weekend and trending upward beyond that, it may be time to chalk up a victory for spring over its colder seasonal cousin.
"It looks like our really cold, subzero temperatures are pretty much over," Zaleski said.
Mohr was a little more cautious.
"You never want to say that here in South Dakota," he said. "Our record lows in the days coming up are still pretty low, but it looks like it will warm up going into next week."
The St. Paul Pioneer Press contributed to this report