Ice storm wreaking havoc on western Minn.Published 4:55pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013
A major spring snowstorm continues to move eastward and has already left widespread power outages, downed trees and powerlines and car accidents in its wake in western Minnesota.
Before noon, Minnesota state troopers reported 30 vehicles off the road, 12 property damage crashes and two crashes with injuries. Because of the severity of the weather, troopers stopped responding to crashes in southwest Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon.
Homeland Security and Emergency Management is coordinating with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Department of Health, the National Guard and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to address more potential disasters.
The Luverne National Guard Armory has been opened to house 35 juveniles from a nearby facility. HSEM logistics is coordinating fuel supplies to ensure continued power for a generator at that Armory. HSEM is also working with local officials to ensure they have adequate resources to clear debris.
Counties affected as of 4:45 p.m. included Nobles, Cottonwood, Murray and Rock in Minnesota.
Ice accumulation has caused thousands to lose power and has shut down the Nobles County government center. Twenty assisted-living residents from Tuff (toof) Memorial Home in Hills were moved Wednesday to the center’s 50-bed nursing home, and a hospital in Nobles County is fully on generator power.
Mower County remains under an ice storm warning and flood watch. The Cedar River was recorded at 6.1 feet at 3 p.m. in Austin; flood stage is 15 feet. Turtle Creek in Austin was recorded at 4.98 feet at 3:30. Flood stage is 10.5 feet.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis., are still forecasting as much as three-tenths of an inch of ice in the Austin area over Wednesday night. Wind speeds could remain about 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 34 mph, as well.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.