2018 ends with winter snowstorm

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Thursday a steady, wet snow fell in the Benson area.
Winds gusting to nearly 40 mph Thursday night into Friday created snow drifts and filled in areas that had been cleared just the day before.

13 inches of snow falls  between Wednesday and Friday

Unofficially, Benson had 13 inches of snow from last week’s three-day winter storm. It’s hard to say exactly how much is falling when winds gusting to nearly 40 mph are blowing it around.

Winter’s first real storm came with a large low-pressure system winding its way toward the northern plains with the National Weather Services warning Minnesotans of its impending arrival. By Tuesday, Dec. 24, the NWS had issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of western and southern Minnesota for Wednesday through Friday morning.

A warning is issued when severe winter weather conditions are occurring or are imminent. Most warnings are issued for heavy snow and wind, but may also be issued for ice and sleet storms.

A blizzard warning was issued for eastern South Dakota as well as Big Stone, Traverse and Grant counties along the western edge of Minnesota. A blizzard warning is issued when visibilities are expected to be reduced to less than quarter-mile for several hours due to falling and blowing snow, making travel virtually impossible. The wind will be at least 35 mph.

Wednesday the storm moved in with a gentle snow with between 4 to 5 inches on the ground by midnight.  

From midnight Thursday until 3:35 that afternoon the temperature held steady at 34 degrees with light winds out of the southeast and east. A damp snow kept falling through the day turning the streets and sidewalks into a slushy mess.

Early Thursday morning the City of Benson street crew was called off clearing streets and avenues when they were dispatched to the municipal airport to clear the runway for a fixed-wing air ambulance. However, as the plows finished their work, the flight was cancelled and the patient transported by ground ambulance.

In the midafternoon Thursday the wind switched to the northeast and by 6:30 they were gusting to 30 mph. While-out conditions developed in some rural areas with the Minnesota Department of Transportation recommending no travel in western counties of the state.

By dawn Friday wind gusts of 32 mph combined with temperatures now at 5 degrees to create a windchill of minus 18 degrees. Blizzard conditions were diminishing, but motorists were advised to use caution when traveling, especially in open areas with no windbreaks. A no travel advisory in Wilkin, Traverse and Big Stone counties remained in effect.

Appleton saw wind gusts of up to 46 mph Thursday night into Friday morning. Wind gusts around Madison in Lac qui Parle County neared 50 mph while gusts around Ortonville in Big Stone County were measured at 44 mph.

Friday’s high was 16 degrees shortly after midnight. From there it continued to drop through the day and by midnight was a minus 15 degrees. With the temperature at a minus 17 degrees, the light north wind of 5 mph created a wind chill of a dangerous minus 30 degrees. The low Saturday morning was a minus 18 degrees....


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Pictured: Thursday a steady, wet snow fell in the Benson area. Winds gusting to nearly 40 mph Thursday night into Friday created snow drifts and filled in areas that had been cleared just the day before.


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