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Windy Emmet County faces storm

Blizzard conditions shut down much of area with hazardous roads

February 25, 2019
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Churches cancelled services, the Estherville Lincoln Central girls basketball state sendoff was postponed, and other events shut down as a storm system produced multiple hazards from Friday night through Sunday.

A wintry mix Saturday felt like a mist in the air and left soggy ice and snow on the ground before transitioning to a snowstorm that moved west to east Saturday night. A wind from the northwest delivered gusts of 40-50 miles per hour with potentially significant blowing and drifting snow through the day Sunday. Emmet County was in a blizzard warning that covered the northern and western two-thirds of Iowa Saturday night into Sunday.

Estherville picked up just 0.01 of an inch of freezing rain causing untreated roads and surfaces to be especially susceptible to slick and icy roads. Five inches of snow was reported overnight Saturday. No travel was advised as snowplows were pulled off the roads from about 7 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Sunday.

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Sunday was reported to be dry, but the wind gusts caused some roads to become impassable due to drifting and visibility as low as zero on county roads. The state snowplows made one pass Sunday morning. Around 10 a.m. Sunday Emmet County Emergency Management announced the Emmet County secondary road plows were going to hold off as the conditions had deteriorated.

The Emmet County Sheriff's office announced also in the 10 a.m. hour "Roads all over the county are impassable. Travel is not advised." By noon, the Estherville Police Department posted a plea for drivers to please stay home.

"The state snowplows are being pulled form the highways until the wind dies down. The county plows are not going out today due to the winds. We currently have vehicles blocking the highway north, south, and east of Estherville. Absolutely no travel is advised," the police department's Facebook post said.

As of Wednesday, Feb. 20, Emmet County's total snow amount was at 47.9 inches for the year. With the latest accumulation of snow, the local snowfall has reached about 55 inches. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Emmet County, Iowa's average annual snowfall is 38 inches.

Monday brings a likely snow forecast with accumulations of about an inch with a chance of snow Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday with little additional accumulation.



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