Update: Ice storm likely, flood watch still in effect

Published 1:29 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Winter isn’t going down without a fight in southern Minnesota.

After thunderstorms passed through the area last night, Mower County is preparing for a return of winter weather in the form of an ice storm by this evening.

The National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning for Mower County starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday and lasting through 1 p.m. Thursday.

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A mix of wintry precipitation is expected to develop tonight and continue into tomorrow morning. Most of the precipitation is expected to fall as freezing rain, though a few inches of snow is possible.

The weather service warns of possible power outages, as the mix of ice, snow and 40 mph wind gusts could snap power lines. About a quarter-inch of ice is enough to snap power lines, according to the NWS, and that could be Austin’s outlook.

“For the Austin area, we’re looking at anywhere from a quarter-inch to three-tenths of an inch of icy accumulation,” said meteorologist Zack Taylor. “The wind is going to make things a little bit worse.”

Significant ice accumulations on roads are also expected, and though they may not accumulate as much ice as trees and powerlines, Taylor expects them to be treacherous.

NWS: Watch for rising rivers, flooding

The National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis., issued a flood watch Tuesday morning in preparation for significant precipitation throughout the region.

Along with Mower, Dodge, Fillmore, Olmsted, Houston, Wabasha and Winona counties in southeastern Minnesota, the flood watch is expanded to areas of northeast Iowa and western Wisconsin. NWS recorded 1.23 inches of rain in Austin, and more rain, sleet and snow is on the way throughout the coming days. Small rivers and drainage ways could rise quickly, the NWS report states.

The flood watch is in effect through Thursday.

The Cedar River was at 5.6 feet in Austin as of 9:40 a.m. Flood stage is 15 feet. Turtle Creek in Austin was at 4.35 feet. Flood stage is 10.5 feet. The NWS forecasts the Turtle will rise to 8 feet on Wednesday.