Weather update: Out like a lion
The county advised no unnecessary travel on Tuesday, including enforcing a snow emergency, due to the massive storm system that dumped 13 inches of snow on the Detroit Lakes area.
Sheriff Tim Gordon said everyone was having a tough time on the roads, including plows and emergency vehicles.
At 2 p.m. yesterday, the City of Detroit Lakes declared a snow emergency. No one was allowed on roads except to drive to or from work, and for true emergencies.
Township and rural roads, Gordon said, were particularly "soft" and not suitable for driving.
As of about 9 a.m., Detroit Lakes had received more than eight inches of snow, with estimates between a foot and 18 inches by the day's end.
"If it maintains this level of intensity, I think we'll see 12 inches easily," Gordon said.
He was right. Although flakes tapered off into the afternoon, by days end, the area had seen more than a foot of heavy, wet snow.
According to the weather station at KDLM Radio, a total of 13 inches fell on the lakes area over the course of the past two days.
Plows started running at 5 a.m. Tuesday, said Detroit Lakes Public Works Director Brad Green, and worked on clearing the snow from all emergency routes in town.
Snow was falling so fast, though, Green said the plow drivers had to retrace those emergency routes a few times, so some side streets didn't cleared as fast.
"Where we plowed at 5 a.m., you can't tell anymore, so we've got to go back and keep the hospitals, nursing homes, main streets cleared," Green said.
This breed of dense snow, he said, is tough to clear, so it took a while, but workers plowed and sanded throughout the day, and met again at 4 a.m. Wednesday to finish cleanup.
Most main business and heavy traffic areas were plowed first before side roads were taken care of.
Becker County Engineer Brad Wentz said visibility became an issue for county plows on the roads.
They'd been out since between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Tuesday and Wentz said they would have an eight to 10 hour day.
"It's pretty difficult to see right now," he said Tuesday morning. "We'll watch it and see with the wind, we'll see, we may have to pull them out if it gets too bad."
Like in the city, high-volume roads were be cleared first, Wentz said, but some already had to be plowed a couple times early Tuesday morning.
"They've hit some and come back and there was already four or five inches on the road," he said.