Snow up north, twisters down south: Severe Weather Awareness Week beginsby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio,
Alex Friedrich, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — After another weekend of heavy weather across Minnesota, including snow in some parts, and deadly tornadoes elsewhere in the Midwest, Monday's start of Severe Weather Awareness Week comes with good timing.
State officials are urging families to make sure they have a plan if severe weather happens. Kris Eide, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says family plans should include contact numbers, medical information, and an agreed place to meet. She says families should write their emergency plans down.
"Whether it's in an iPhone or iPad, in a backpack with your kids that they take to school, so that they can feel assured that if they need to communicate, they may have to do it through a third party, but they all go to the same party so that they can find each other if they're not together following some severe weather," Eide said.
She urged that when severe weather hits, people should go indoors, and listen to the radio or television for information, and have access to emergency kits that include things like battery-operated radios.
"Getting people to take this seriously is a challenge," she said. "Even though you may be in an area that hasn't been hit by a tornado or severe weather in a very long time, the probability may be low but the consequences will be really high. That one time it can happen to you."
Heavy snow and high winds prompted the Minnesota Department of Transportation to issue a no-travel advisory from Virginia to the Canadian Border on Monday.
MnDOT Maintenance Operations Manager Jeff Hall said the area has received 5-11 inches of snow. Gusts in some places reach up to 52 miles per hour, creating hazardous conditions.
A lot of the roads up north are impassable just because of the amount of trees that are down and the heavy snow and compaction that are on the roadways. We did have on 11-car pileup coming into Duluth here at about 7 a.m. this morning that slowed traffic here for about the last hour.
The storm has closed school districts in areas such as Cook, Deer Lake, Grand Rapids and International Falls.
A winter storm warning remained in effect Monday morning for the Iron Range and parts of the North Shore. The Iron Range should receive another 1 to 3 inches of snow.
National Weather Service meteorologist Tony Zaleski said the snow was ushered in on the backside of a storm system that spawned tornadoes in southern Minnesota on Sunday.
"This is a little payback for what happened in March. We still had a tremendous amount of cold air that was situated - and is still situated - over the bulk of far northern Canada, and the storm system was very intense," he said.
The low pressure system pulled that cold air into Minnesota, and it was cold enough to turn precipitation into heavy, wet snow in the northeast, Zaleski said. Tonight, frost is possible in central and southern Minnesota -including the Twin Cities. Temperatures should return to near normal tomorrow.
Meantime, storms sweeping across central and southern Minnesota over the weekend dumped heavy rain and hail but caused no major damage.
The National Weather Service said two tornadoes were spotted Sunday in McLeod County and another twister was seen in Lyon County. But those counties report no damage or injuries.
Meteorologist Jacob Beitlich at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen said the potential for major storms was there, but "the ingredients didn't all come together at the right time."
An estimated 2 inches of rain was reported 10 miles north of Montevideo. Hail measuring 1 inch was reported in Glencoe.
Much of southern and central Minnesota was under a tornado watch until 11 p.m. Sunday.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Rupa Shenoy is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.