Curt Anderson clears snow off his vehicle in downtown Austin Thursday as the winter storm covering the area moves through. -- Eric Johnson/
Curt Anderson clears snow off his vehicle in downtown Austin Thursday as the winter storm covering the area moves through. -- Eric Johnson/

Archived Story

Right on the button: For the most part, forecasters got this storm right

Published 10:57am Friday, February 21, 2014

The forecasters got this one right — mostly.

Thursday’s potent winter storm did exactly what the National Weather Service meteorologists predicted; it just took a little longer to get here.

About 8 inches of snow fell in Austin Thursday, with about 7 to 10 inches across Mower County, according to Zack Taylor, an NWS meteorologist out of La Crosse.

“The storm system itself was pretty intense,” Taylor said.

In fact, Taylor described Thursday’s storm system as one of the strongest February low-pressure systems to hit the upper Midwest in some time.

After area schools closed and many events were postponed, Thursday morning and early afternoon turned out to be relatively quiet as the storm stalled to the west. The slower progression of the storm, according to Taylor, isn’t uncommon for such systems.

Taylor said the system rapidly intensified, pulling a lot of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and later bringing high winds on the backside of the system. Winds topped out at 44 mph at the Austin Municipal Airport, according to NWS readings.

Though the snow ended overnight, Taylor warned that road conditions were still hazardous on Friday, as the winds continued to cause blowing and drifting, especially on rural roads.

Along with the winds, Friday conditions were expected to be sunny, which could help with the cleanup throughout the day.

Now that the storm is passed, Taylor said the region should return to a dry pattern of below-average temperatures, with highs only reaching the teens and lows dropping below zero.

There are really no signs of spring at this point, as the below-average temperatures are expected to continue into early March.

“No warm-up in sight at this point,” Taylor said.

Snowfall totals

Grand Meadow: 10 inches

Rochester: 8.8 inches

Austin: 8 inches

St. Ansgar: 7.8 inches

Adams: 7 inches

LeRoy: 7 inches

Dodge Center: 6 inches

Winona: 5.3 inches

Albert Lea: 5 inches

Lanesboro: 4.5 inches

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