Fairmont works to dig out

FAIRMONT – Fairmont residents were out in full force Sunday, cleaning up from a blizzard even as more flurries fell.

“It is pretty,” Norma Vetter acknowledged as she shoveled her front sidewalk and her son, Ramie, cleared snow from her driveway on Day Street.

Norma Vetter said she is really ready for the overdue spring, though. Which was the exact thought shared by Wanda Wright, who was digging out her minivan along with her husband, Dennis, along Webster Street.

The hum of snowblowers could be heard across neighborhoods as residents contended with more than a foot of snow, which swirled into larger drifts in places. The temperature held in the upper 20s, all unseasonably cold and snowy circumstances. The forecast held no promise of spring either, with highs expected to be in the mid-30s for the rest of the week.

There was some good news. At 12:30 p.m., the Minnesota Department of Transportation lifted its no travel advisory for the area that had gone into effect at 9:55 a.m. Saturday. Motorists were advised, however, to still use extreme caution as snow and ice compaction continued to make roads treacherous.

MnDOT had closed Interstate 90 from Blue Earth to the South Dakota border, Highway 60 from Mankato to Worthington and all state highways west of Highway 15. The no travel advisory affected Martin, Watonwan, Jackson and several other southwestern Minnesota counties.

MnDOT said 83 snowplows were out in south-central and southwest Minnesota working to clear the roads, and reminded residents to be patient and careful around plows.

According to its daily calls for service summary, the Fairmont Police Department assisted at the scene of four motor vehicle accidents in town on Saturday, although the summary does not specify if they were related to icy conditions.

The Associated Press reported Friday that the disheartening weather is not unprecedented for April. Jake Beitlich, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, said: “We do get pretty powerful systems coming throughout the Midwest, and on the cold side we do get snow. And this one is particularly strong. So we do have a lot of moisture with it, and a lot of energy.”

Anticipating the storm, many area events were put off, with the Fairmont community calendar — www.fairmontareacalendar.com — lit up with red postponement announcements over the weekend.

Among the casualties were Ceylon Community Day, an annual gathering that attracts thousands, and the Oh! What a Knight! Dinner Auction at Martin Luther High School in Northrop. Both will now be held on Saturday, which — for now — comes with a forecast of 38 degrees and a 30 percent chance of showers.