The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 27, 2013

UPDATED: Rain, ice, snow make travel tricky around Mankato

Most crashes reported outside the city



Jim Braunshausen, Mankato Street Department superintendent, said his crews were prepared because they knew the potential for icy roads was coming. Seven plow drivers were called in at 9:30 a.m. as the rain started and were on the road by 10 a.m. Two additional drivers had joined them by noon. Their priority was to get salt on the city's main roads.

“As soon as it started raining it turned to ice instantly,” Braunshausen said. “It was just black ice.”

Temperatures cooperated during the day, staying well above the 15 degree mark where salt loses its effectiveness, he said. Road crews were going home at about 8 p.m. and returning to the streets at 3 a.m., so Braunshausen said he expected Mankato roads to be in decent shape for today’s morning commute.

“This would have been a lot harder to deal with if it had gotten any colder,” he said. “The salt that's on the ground now will really be in our favor.”

Icy rain didn’t keep Mount Kato from hosting a group from Hosanna Highland Church for an afternoon outing Sunday. About 30 church members had the ski hill, its lifts and the tubing hill pretty much to themselves. There were going to be about 75 people joining the group, but most were kept home by the sloppy weather.

“We didn’t think they were going to close down,” said Melissa Sailor, one of the trip organizers. “We were just worried about getting here.”

Sailor and Raenee Traetow, another organizer, said they stuck to the tubing hill because the rain had made the ski hills too fast.

“We got here and there was no one on the slopes,” Traetow said. “They just said, ‘You’re here to ski, so you’ll ski.”

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