---- — Clark Fell has been working the streets of Waseca, keeping them clear of snow every winter for 22 years.
Thursday was the first time he remembers ever having to get up early on a May morning to make sure the roads were clear for people heading to work. He estimates 9 inches of thick, heavy snow fell in the city Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
It was worse south and east of the city. Further east, in cities such as Owatonna and Rochester, more than a foot of snow fell. The line of snow from the storm ended abruptly on its western edge. There was virtually no snow accumulation in Mankato. Janesville, just west of Waseca, had snow, but it was mostly melted off the roads by morning.
Fell lives north of Waseca. He said he was a bit surprised when he drove into work early Thursday morning and his car started getting hung up on the heavy snow in town.
"We plowed from 4 a.m. this morning until about 9:30 a.m.," he said Thursday morning. "Now we're trucking all the snow out. It's getting to be a long year. To tell you the truth, I've had enough of winter."
With the warm roads, the snow was easy to push off the streets and highways. There also was enough money left in the budget to cover the cost of the unexpected snowfall, Fell said.
Street Department employees will be spending more time than expected filling potholes, too. They'd all been filled before Thursday. Fell is expecting many of them to have to be filled again after running the plows over them.
County roads and highways also were cleared quickly, said Brad Milbrath, Waseca County sheriff. There were no serious crashes or stranded drivers, as there were to the east Thursday morning.
Except for a couple of downed trees and branches, the heavy snows didn't create any hazards, Milbrath said.
"Owatonna got it a lot worse," he said. "The plows here got out early. It was warm enough that once the plows hit the road, everything was fine. It was mostly in the southern and eastern half of the county."
The heavy snow toppled electrical lines across southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, The Associated Press reported. Xcel Energy said more than 29,000 customers were without power late Thursday morning as a result of the storm.
At one point 10,000 customers were without power in Rochester and 5,000 customers without power in northern Iowa, where about a foot of snow fell.