The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 22, 2013

Snowstorm dies down, travel woes tick up

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A snowstorm left behind varying amounts of snow and ice across the Midwest, but those areas affected were united by one thing Friday morning: difficult travel conditions.

Powerful wind gusts created large snow drifts on many roadways, making navigating the slick conditions a challenge. Accidents and slide-offs were reported from Kansas to Michigan as the storm pushed east Friday.

Strong gusts off Lake Michigan caused problems for commuters in eastern Wisconsin. Chicago's more than 280 snowplows salted and cleared the city's streets, while commuters slogged through slush to get to their offices.

But in some locations, the storm didn't live up to the hype. At the Pilot Flying J station near Interstate 29 in southwest Iowa, shift manager Kelly Malone said Friday his company had taken precautions by reserving seven rooms for employees at the nearby Super 8 Motel.

"We were prepared for the worst, but it didn't happen that bad. To me it was just an average storm, but I'm a person who drives through anything," he said. Iowa's snow totals topped out at 9.7 inches near Sioux City.

About 270 flights in and out of Chicago's two airports were canceled Friday morning, according to the airline tracking website FlightAware.com. Kansas City International Airport and Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Mo., both reopened Friday morning, but cancellations were possible. Lambert spokesman Jeff Lee told KMOX that many flights were being affected by snow in other cities.

There were some impressive snow totals — 17 inches in Hays, Kan.; 13 inches in northern Oklahoma; 13 ½ inches in south central Nebraska; and 10 inches near Kansas City, Mo.

Other areas had accumulation more in line with a regular winter system. Wisconsin topped out at 6 inches in New London. Minnesota ranged from 2 to 6 inches of snow, with Dodge County getting 8 inches. Northern Indiana's top total was 4 inches in Crown Point, close to the Illinois border, and Indianapolis was dealing with ice-coated surfaces.

Schools were closed in parts of Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

That included the University of Missouri, where classes were canceled two days in a row, one of the few times in its 174-year history. Chancellor Brady Deaton said Friday the road conditions in Columbia would make it difficult for many to reach campus.

But on Thursday, students trekked out to a local Wal-Mart, making a beeline for the aisles containing sleds and alcohol.

"This isn't our usual Thursday noon routine," Lauren Ottenger, a senior economics major from Denver, said as she stockpiled supplies.

Transportation officials in the affected states urged people to stay home on Thursday. The Kansas National Guard had 12 teams patrolling three state highways in Humvees overnight to rescue motorists stranded by the storm.

The storm brought some relief to a region that has been dealing with its worst drought in decades.

Vance Ehmke, a wheat farmer near Healy, Kan., said the nearly foot of snow was "what we have been praying for." Climatologists say 12 inches of snow is equivalent to about 1 inch of rain, depending on the density of the snow.

At a Travel Centers of America truck stop in the central Illinois city of Effingham, all of the 137 parking spaces were filled by truckers unwilling to drive through the storm overnight.

"When it gets really bad, they like to camp out," cashier Tia Schneider said Thursday, noting that some drivers called ahead. "They can make reservations from 500 miles away to make sure a space is available."

___

Associated Press writers Alan Scher Zagier in Columbia, Mo.; Margaret Stafford in Kansas City, Mo.; Nelson Lampe in Omaha, Neb.; Rick Callahan in Indianapolis; Tim Talley in Oklahoma City; Jim Salter in St. Louis; and Erin Gartner and Herbert G. McCann in Chicago contributed to this report.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Man accused of abusing 2 girls in 'Maidens Group' MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities were searching Tuesday for a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing at least two girls in a "Maidens Group" at his religious fellowship in rural Minnesota, where he told one victim she would remain a virgin

    April 15, 2014

  • Deputy shot, wounded in Norman County PERLEY, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old man from Fertile is under arrest for shooting a sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop in northwestern Minnesota. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says the Norman County deputy was wear

    April 15, 2014

  • Red River Valley touted as drone industry center THIEF RIVER FALLS (AP) — Dozens of representatives from agriculture, aviation and higher education are meeting in northwestern Minnesota to discuss ways to promote the region as a center for development of the aircraft industry which produces unmanne

    April 15, 2014

  • Balancing Act: The secret weapon behind work life balance We all struggle for work life balance, but most of us don’t realize that sometimes the path toward achieving might be something so simple. Some of the most successful people I know are sharing their secret weapon for remaining strong and finding bal

    April 15, 2014

  • Police: Suspected killers wore GPS devices ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Two convicted sex offenders dutifully checked in with police every month and wore their GPS trackers around the clock — the rules of parole that are designed to tip off authorities if a freed felon backslides. Yet for at least

    April 15, 2014

  • More US consumers are seeking medical care, report shows A historic slowdown in U.S. health care spending in recent years may be drawing to a close. An industry report published this week and health care experts point to a steady rise in medical care being sought by consumers seeing specialists, getting m

    April 15, 2014

  • Man sentenced to 20 years in synthetic drug case FARGO, N.D. (AP) — One of 15 people to plead guilty in a synthetic drug conspiracy that resulted in the overdose deaths of two teenagers has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Casey Rosen (row-ZEEN') pleaded guilty in January 2013 to conspiracy to

    April 14, 2014

  • White House news group honors black reporter it once barred WASHINGTON — Harry S. McAlpin made history in February 1944 when he became the first black reporter to cover a presidential news conference at the White House. Time magazine and The New York Times noted the milestone. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

    April 14, 2014

  • Worn down by health problems, woman discovers art of living MILWAUKEE — For the second time in her life, Tessa Koller sat in a hospital examination room listening to a doctor deliver bad news. A defect in her coronary artery required surgery. She was 25. Tessa heard the doctor say something about “sudden dea

    April 14, 2014

  • Illinois Lottery app stirs up controversy SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — When Illinois launched its first-in-the-nation lottery app in January, Matthew Ruder quickly signed up so he could jockey for jackpots with just a tap of the finger on his smartphone. “It’s really easy to buy lottery tickets on t

    April 14, 2014