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A Detroit Lakes snowplow does its job Tuesday morning along Minnesota Avenue. Brian Basham/Tribune

Snow and more snow

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Detroit Lakes Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

The snowmobilers should be ecstatic. Kids got a day off from school -- even more enthusiasm. And the ditches were littered with vehicles here and there.

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Yes, it was the first major snowfall of the winter season.

According to the National Weather Service, the Detroit Lakes area got a foot of snow Monday night and Tuesday morning. Meteorologist Dave Kellenbenz said this area certainly got hit the hardest with snow.

"It was a heavy band of snow," he said. "Anything from southeast North Dakota to around Morton (13 inches) to Lidgerwood (10 inches) through Detroit Lakes to around Bemidji (11.5 inches), that area got the most."

Kellenbenz said the weather service issued a storm warning that clouds were expected to drop at least six to eight inches of snow, and even more snow in localized areas. He said that with heavier snow bands, certain areas can get up to a foot of snow, which is exactly what happened this time.

"The band may have been a little heavier, looking at these totals of 10, 12 inches. That can happen a lot with these intense snow bands," he said.

On the other extreme, those outside of the band, like Traill County, N.D., and Grand Forks, he said, "didn't get a flake. You guys got all the snow."

It was concentrated, and those that got hit, got hit with plenty of snow to last the winter.

Hopefully all the kids at home for the day took advantage of the warmer temperatures and built their snow forts Tuesday because temperatures are predicted to fall to below zero by Thursday.

"Temperatures are going to get much colder (today) and the following day," Kellenbenz said.

The good news is that there isn't any more snow forecast for the foreseeable future.

Kellenbenz said there may be a few flurries with the front moving through that's bringing cold temperatures, but certainly nothing like Monday brought.

"It's just getting colder," he said.

Snow and cold are never good for the highways and those using them.

State Trooper Jesse Grabow said things are going fairly well throughout northwestern Minnesota despite the heavy snowfall.

"The last 24 hours, we've had a number (of vehicles in the ditch), but it's not as bad as I thought," Grabow said Tuesday afternoon. "We've got them going in here and there but I think the majority of people are slowing down and paying attention.

"There are just a few not getting it, and those are usually the ones that end up in the ditch, I guess."

Most of the vehicles are simply sliding off into the ditches though, and not causing many accidents or injuries. Grabow said the numbers are actually down throughout the state, not just in this area.

Statewide, there were 65 crashes as of yesterday early afternoon. Only nine were rollovers, and five resulted in injuries, though none were serious. There were a total of 78 vehicles that had slid off the road and needed towing assistance.

"It's still a significant number, but it's much less than it could be," he said. "The roads, visibly packed with snow and ice, it's just obvious. And majority of the people are slowing down and doing the right thing."

Grabow said Minnesotans have been fortunate the last couple years to not have much snowfall, but now, "this is a test of Minnesota winter driving -- winter driving at it's best."

Driving in Minnesota during the winter is certainly a skill to be learned and used often.

"This is definitely a test, so to speak," he said, "and hopefully you're not behind the curve."

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.

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