Valley digs out from snowstorm

Schools reopen; few problems for commuters

Wokers clear snow from the Stillwater Lift Bridge Wednesday morning as clean-up from Tuesday's storm continued in teh St. Croix Valley. Milder air is forecast to move into the region later this week , with a rain-snow mix expected Saturday through Monday.

Wokers clear snow from the Stillwater Lift Bridge Wednesday morning as clean-up from Tuesday’s storm continued in teh St. Croix Valley. Milder air is forecast to move into the region later this week , with a rain-snow mix expected Saturday through Monday. (Gazette Photo by Avery Cropp)

What a difference a day makes.

Schools reopened and the morning commute was smoother today, one day after a winter storm dumped 7 to 12 inches of snow on the St. Croix Valley.

Tuesday’s heavy snowfall forced Independent School District 834 officials to close schools and activities for the day and meant a slow morning commute. By late Tuesday afternoon, however, main roads were clear and traffic was moving smoothly.

Washington County Engineer Wayne Sandberg said Washington Public Works crews started plowing roads at 4 a.m. Tuesday and were back out at 4 a.m. today doing clean-up work. He added that the decision to close schools Tuesday meant plows faced less traffic.

“The schools being closed really helped us,” Sandberg said.

Joe Calderone, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, said snow accumulations of up to one foot in places was likely from Tuesday’s storm.
“We’ve been calling for amounts here in the metro of 7 to 12 inches. This wasn’t unexpected,” he said.

Calderone said the storm got better organized Monday evening as it moved into the metro area. Snow began falling during the early morning Tuesday and continued until early Tuesday afternoon.

“Things started to come together about 6 to 7 o’clock last night,” he said.
Calderone said the heaviest snow from the storm fell along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

“The low-pressure center is straddling the Minnesota-Iowa border,” he said. “It’s kind of a slow mover,” he said.

Snow tapered off to flurries by early Tuesday evening and ended by mid-eveing, Calderone said.

Sunshine and highs near 32 today are expected to help melt snow on many roads. Calderone said the snow from Tuesday’s storm is not likely to last with highs in the middle to upper 30s expected by week’s end and a rain-snow mix forecast for the weekend.

“By the time we get to Thursday and Friday, the highs get to 35 to 37,” he said. “It may melt during the day and re-freeze at night.”

The milder air is expected to last through the weekend, bringing with it the chance of mixed precipitation, Calderone said.

“During each period, it will end up being a rain-snow mix threat,” he said.

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