Power restored in Austin, hundreds still without electricty in Freeborn

Published 11:11am Friday, May 3, 2013

Another dose of snow for Austin

Utilities companies have returned power to most of the Mower County homes affected by the May 2 snowstorm, but a few homes in Moscow and Austin Townships still remain without power.

Only one Austin Township home and two homes in Moscow are still out as of 9:30 a.m., according to Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services. Alliant Energy restored power to the sole Mower County home out yesterday. All 26 homes without power under Austin Utilities were restored by mid-Thursday.

Tom Tylutki, director of electrical distribution for Austin Utilities, said some Austin crews are helping restore power to Rochester and Owatonna homes. Crews are still available for any potential problems in Austin.

In Freeborn County, there were still 201 Alliant customers without power as of 11 a.m. Friday, a big improvement from the 2,982 reported outages by 6 a.m. Thursday. For Freeborn-Mower, there were 220 outages in Freeborn County as of 11 a.m. Friday, compared to 795 at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Austin and the surrounding area received more than 10 inches of snow Thursday after a freak storm blanketed the area, and the National Weather Service is calling for more snow on Friday.

NWS meteorologists said Austin could get up to 2 inches of snow Friday, along with rain throughout the day.

“The storm system that’s producing all of this is still sending bands of precipitation toward us,” said Mike Welvaert, NWS meteorologist.

Reports showed Austin received a little more than 10 inches Thursday, with surrounding towns getting several more inches. The Grand Meadow area got 14 inches, and unofficial reports show Blooming Prairie received more than 18 inches.

The weather didn’t deter a few spring sports teams from practicing, as the Youth 13 soccer team practiced at Shirley Thiele Park Thursday afternoon.

The temperature is expected to rise to 36 degrees this afternoon and stay steady throughout Friday evening, which means snow should melt throughout the day. Snow is expected before noon, then sleet, freezing rain and rain should hit the area.

Welvaert cautioned drivers to be wary of road conditions, as 15 to 25 mph winds could cause drifting snow on top of slushy, wet conditions. In other words, be sure to drive like it’s December and January instead of the spring.

“It certainly isn’t a normal May,” Welvaert said.

Temperatures should rise to 48 degrees on Saturday, and the area is expected to receive highs in the 60s on Sunday and Monday, though rain is in the forecast for Saturday and possibly part of Sunday.

May snowfall totals (according to NWS)

Dodge Center: 17.2 in.

Byron: 14.8 in.

Grand Meadow: 14 in.

Spring Valley: 12.9 in.

Albert Lea: 12 in.

St. Ansgar: 10.9 in.

Austin: 10.2 in.

—According to some reports,  Blooming Prairie received about 18 inches, but the National Weather Service did not have a confirmed total.

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