Ice knocks out power around Worthington, Jackson
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Thousands of people remained without power in the Worthington area of southwestern Minnesota on Wednesday, the day after an ice storm coated trees and power lines, while the next round of the storm threatened to dump several inches of wet snow across much of the southern half of Minnesota by Thursday.
Some 4,200 Nobles Cooperative Electric customers lost power after the storm deposited about eight-tenths of an inch of freezing rain Tuesday night. More than 3,200 were still waiting for the power to come back by late Wednesday morning, the Worthington Daily Globe reported, and some rural customers probably won't see their service restored for two days. An additional 2,000 customers of Federated Rural Electric lost power in the Jackson area, and 800 were still without power by late Wednesday morning.
Worthington city employees were hard at work clearing the streets of fallen branches and debris and preparing for more snow.
The National Weather Service said southwestern Minnesota could get 8 or 9 inches of snow by Thursday morning, while 8 to 14 inches was forecast for a large swath of southern Minnesota. including the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Willmar and Mankato starting Wednesday night and into Thursday.
"If we get anywhere near the amount of snow we're expecting, it's going to be a pretty intense situation. We're as ready as we can be for snow, given the situation," Worthington public works director Jim Eulberg said. "The priority is getting the branches out of the street because it's going to be difficult to plow if there are branches lying in the streets."
A winter storm warning was out for most of the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, extending as far north as Duluth, while an ice storm warning was out for most of southeastern Minnesota.
Elsewhere across southern Minnesota, winter-weary residents woke up to 1 to 2 inches of slushy snow Wednesday as a preview to the storm to come. Over a dozen rural school districts started classes two hours late and a few districts canceled classes due to slippery roads.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported fair to difficult driving conditions across much of southwestern and southeastern Minnesota.
No matter how much snow falls, Minneapolis won't declare a snow emergency. A city ordinance prohibits that after April 1, but city officials promised that crews will be out to treat and clear streets.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.