Dreaming of an even whiter Christmas

Published 9:40 am Friday, December 24, 2010

Lucas Sunderman snowplows the front walk this morning in front of the Midtown Building on Main Street. The Austin area is currently under a winter advisory until 6 p.m. tonight. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Mower County is even closer to its snowiest month on record.

After already setting the record snow total for the month of December with more than 36 inches, the region is nearing record snow totals for any one month. Snow will continue to fall on Christmas Eve.

Austin’s had 4.3 inches as of 5:28 a.m., according to the National Weather Service, and snow is expected to continue through Friday evening. An additional 1 to 3 inches is expected for Friday for a total of 5 to 7 inches.

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A winter weather advisory — originally set to expire at noon — has been extended until 6 p.m. Friday.

With calm winds of 6 to 7 mph, drifting isn’t expected to be an issue.

The snow is expected to push out in time for Santa’s big night and Christmas morning.

Scattered flurries are expected to linger on Christmas Day with a high of 20 and a low of 4.

If snow totals don’t top the record today, more snow is expected next Wednesday and Thursday.

Holiday travelers going through southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin can expect snow covered and slippery roads. Snow totals are expected to get as high as 11 inches in some areas, particularly in northern Iowa.

Crews around the state will be clearing roads and continuing clean-up in areas hit hard by the Dec. 11 and Dec. 20 storms, according to a Minnesota Department of Transportation press release.

MnDOT officials reminded parents to keep children safely away from the road while snowplow drivers are working.

“With many children on winter break from school, playing in all this snow is a great winter activity,” said Tom Sorel, MnDOT commissioner in a press release. “We want to make sure that this holiday break remains a great time for families throughout the state.”

To date, 395 Minnesotans have died in traffic crashes in 2010. Minnesota is close to reaching its Toward Zero Death goal for 2010, which is fewer than 400 traffic fatalities.

“Please do all you can to stay safe on the roads this holiday-the health and safety of our loved ones is the best gift of the season,” Sorel said.