Posted at: 05/01/2013 5:31 AM
Updated at: 05/02/2013 8:01 PM
By: Scott Theisen
Historic May Snowstorm Makes Travel Tough in SE Minn.
The Twin Cities metro area caught a break from heavy snow while areas south of the metro are looking like a winter wonderland on this spring day.
The metro area saw less snow accumulation than previously forecast because the storm shifted south and east.
KSTP Meteorologist Ken Barlow says Blooming Prairie got 18 inches, Red Wing got 10 inches and Hastings got 8.4 inches. Across the border in Wisconsin, Rice Lake got 17 inches and Barron got 14 inches. Click here for a list of more snowfall totals.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation had to shut down part of Interstate 35 north of Owatonna during part of the storm.
Crews are working to repair electrical lines brought down by the heavy, wet snow that fell across parts of northern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Xcel Energy says more than 29,000 of its Minnesota and Wisconsin customers were still without power around midday Thursday. Red Wing was among the hardest-hit areas with more than 5,000 customers out. Xcel is urged residents to stay away from downed lines.
Rochester Public Utilities says about 10,000 of its customers lost power Thursday morning, though crews managed to reduce that number to about 2,600 around noon.
And in northern Iowa, more than 5,000 customers of several utilities lost power. The storm dumped nearly a foot of snow in parts of Iowa from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.
The snow was extremely heavy and wet so it weighed down branches, causing them to snap and fall in many people's yards.
Some of the branches fell across roadways, others landed on top of cars.
Some of the shovelers KSTP Reporter Kate Renner spoke with said it's the worst kind of snow too; it's hard to pick up and it clogs your snow blower.
"I never thought I'd be snow-plowing on May 2, especially this much snow," Owatonna resident Mark Sherman said. " I think this is our biggest snowfall in Owatonna of this year and comes at the end of the year."
"You just get used to it and move it and hope in a couple of days it will be summer again," Owatonna resident Greg Gorder also said.
The snowplows were out and about, but they had so much ground to cover that many of Owatonna's side streets were left untouched and only the main roads got some attention from the plows.
Meanwhile, MnDOT is advising no unnecessary travel in Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha and Winona Counties due to heavy snow and reduced visibility.
Some schools have closed for the day due to the snow.
A Winter Storm Warning was in effect through 10 a.m. Thursday for parts of southern Minnesota, including parts of the Twin Cities, and west-central Wisconsin.
Click here to track interactive radar of the storm.
Do you have a great weather photo? Email pics@KSTP.com. Please include your name and location.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.