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Storm brings over 4 inches of snow to the area; Causes havoc with travel

A weekend winter storm brought about 4 ½ inches of snow to the Mower County area, according to National Weather Service-La Crosse Meteorologist Nicole Batzek.

“From the system that moved through Friday into Saturday, we had a local report of 4 ½ inches,” she said. “An official report at the Rochester Airport also reported 4 ½ inches.”

Snow was not the only problem during the storm as ice accumulated throughout the area as well.

“We did have a couple reports from the Rochester Airport that they had about two-tenths of an inch of ice,” Batzek said. “We got snow, then ice, then a little more snow, so it was like a sandwich of snow with ice in the middle.”

The storm made for hazardous travel as snow and ice made roads slick. According to Austin Police Chief David McKichan, the Austin Police Department responded to 17 accidents within the city between Friday and Monday morning. The Mower County Sheriff’s Office responded to 13 accidents in the county. There was no indication if injuries occurred in any of the accidents.

Local law enforcement also aided the Minnesota State Patrol in a rollover accident that occurred at about 10:31 a.m. on Jan. 19 at mile marker 188 on Interstate 90. That assist led to the arrest of 61-year-old Ronald Frank Rodello, McKichan said. The Mower County Jail custody website indicates Rodello is facing a misdemeanor domestic assault charge.

The weather also affected travel on Interstate 35, which included an accident with injuries at about 1:35 a.m. on Monday at milepost 6 in Albert Lea Township, Freeborn County. Savanna Patrice Echols, 20, of Zumbrota was transported to Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea with non-life threatening injuries after the accident, according to the Minnesota State Patrol accident report.

Batzek said the colder temperatures won’t last as we will see an increase into the 30s starting Wednesday.

“After the snow, we had a pretty strong cold front that brought in those colder temperatures,” she said. “They are stuck here with high pressure, but our winds will turn south during the week, so we will see temperatures increase this week.”

Batzek added that another system is moving in on Wednesday that could have precipitation, meaning more snow could be expected later this week.

“It’s looking like a light snow amount, maybe 1-3 inches, but that can change,” she said.