Storm drops 6 inches of snowPublished 9:27am Monday, March 11, 2013
By Tim Engstrom and Sarah Stultz
About 6 inches of heavy snow fell on Albert Lea in a storm that arrived Sunday afternoon and ended this morning.
The snow made driving to work today difficult, especially for rural commuters.
Two people received minor injuries Sunday evening in separate crashes on Interstate 35 in Freeborn County.
In the first crash, at 5:51 p.m., two vehicles collided on I-35 at Freeborn County Road 35.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a 2006 Peterbilt was traveling on the northbound I-35 ramp to County Road 35 when it started to cross County Road 35 and collided with a 2004 Chevy Classic.
The driver of the Chevy, Andrew Kubista, 18, of Blooming Prairie was transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea.
The condition of the driver of the Peterbilt, Joseph Perhacs, 44, was not documented.
The report also does not indicate whether both men were wearing their seat belts.
In the second crash, at about 6:42 p.m., a 2005 Buick Rainier was driving southbound on Interstate 35 to the westbound Interstate 90 ramp when it lost control because of weather conditions and hit the guard rail.
The driver, Juan Navarro, 48, of Austin, was transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin. His passenger, Judith Reinalda, 62, of Rochester, received no apparent injury.
Both Navarro and Reinalda were wearing seat belts.
The State Patrol said roads were icy in both crashes.
A winter storm warning had been in effect from midday Sunday until this morning. Forecasters say the rate of falling snow exceeded 1 inch per hour in some spots Sunday night. Snowplows were out this morning, clearing the main routes before getting to secondary routes.
The snowfall total of 6 inches was measured by Albert Lea Tribune and KATE Radio.
Many school districts declared they would delay classes, with announcements around 5 or 6 a.m. Albert Lea, Alden-Conger, Lake Mills, Northwood-Kensett, Glenville-Emmons, United South Central (no morning preschool), New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, St. Theodore Catholic and Hollandale Christian said classes would begin two hours late today.
Then by 8:30 a.m., those school districts had canceled classes for the day.
The snow totals were higher to the south, with Northwood reporting 8 inches of snow.
The region also should be prepared for high water when warm temperatures arrive. Southern Minnesota and northern Iowa have what’s called “concrete frost,” where frozen rain disallows any melted snow from soaking into the ground. Basically, where there is concrete frost, melting snow is just going to move quickly to waterways, creating a risk of flood conditions.
Highs are expected to be in the mid-30s Thursday and Friday.
Albert Lea resident James Espinosa was shoveling snow this morning in downtown Albert Lea. He said the wetness of the snow made it heavy.
“I’m ready for it to be spring,” he said.