We’d already broken our state’s all-time snow record for the month when another blizzard walloped southern Minnesota over the weekend.
You’re probably thinking, So what? We’ve been getting walloped all month, and so it is. You’re probably almost as sick of catastrophic snow stories as you are of catastrophic snow. But none of it -- and we mean none of it -- compares to the near-apocalyptic tableaus that took place in the past few days.
So, without further ado, here’s a hellish Whitman’s Sampler of all the semi-dystopian nightmares that took place over the weekend, served up with typical Minnesotan nonchalance.
1. This semi-truck accidentally drove out onto Lake Minnetonka on Saturday: Allegedly, the near-whiteout conditions made this driver a little too trusting of his GPS while he was making a delivery to a lakeside resident. Before he knew it, he’d driven out into the middle of Carson Bay. Fox 9 reports that an ice fisher named Jeremy Elshaug rallied a crew, dug the rig out of the snow, and hauled it to safety with his pickup truck. Miraculously, nobody was injured and nothing was damaged -- especially since the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office had designated some of the lake’s channels as dangerously thin ice that same weekend.
2. Governor Tim Walz declared a state of emergency: Freeborn and Steele Counties were so overwhelmed by the weather on Saturday that the governor had to call in the Minnesota National Guard to rescue some 50 motorists stranded in shifting dunes of snow. Some 600 would end up needing assistance over the weekend. More than 100 people were still staying in emergency shelters as of yesterday.
3. A literal, actual tank got stuck in the snow: Remember that rescue party? A military tank sent out by the National Guard to help stranded drivers got -- ironically -- stranded in Wabasha. The Wabasha Police Department posted on Facebook yesterday that “a tank, yes a literal military tank” had gotten stuck on the roads the night before, and encouraged would-be drivers to think twice before deciding they could do better.
4. This parking lot in Rochester claimed many an innocent victim: Over the course of a few short hours on Sunday, a seemingly harmless parking lot outside of an apartment complex in Rochester became a car-eating hellswamp where dozens of drivers abandoned their vehicles. Not one but two snow plows got stuck, too, in an attempt to free the others. A video posted by a group of friends keeping vigil from a nearby window went viral Sunday afternoon, racking up millions of views and hundreds of thousands of shares in a matter of hours. Queen’s "Another One Bites the Dust" is liberally used.
5. Someone in Claremont left their car door open and this happened:
Photo from Claremont, MN post blizzard. Someone left a door open in the family vehicle. The picture is from Stephanie Hokanson who truly has a Snow Mobile on her hands. Clean up commences in May. Good luck Steph! pic.twitter.com/GmvTf2Utbt— Cathy Wurzer (@CathyWurzer) February 25, 2019
6. St. Cloud State hockey team spent Sunday night in jail: After winning the Penrose Cup in Omaha on Sunday night, the team got back on their bus and made it all the way to St. James, Minnesota before getting stuck in the snow with their “rations running low” and “toilet filling up” according to a series of tweets from Assistant Coach Mike Gibbons. They ended up taking shelter in the Watonwan County Jail for a few hours until conditions improved. Gibbons tweeted that the team was “enjoying county jail food” and that he was “not making [that] up.”
7. A number of structures straight-up collapsed: These include a Dodge Center steel distribution center, and a beloved 150-year-old covered bridge in Zumbrota. It was the only remaining covered timber truss bridge in Minnesota.
All told, southern Minnesota got more than a foot of snow dumped on it over the weekend, and since then, a bitter cold has set in and calcified its trail of destruction. Let these scenes be a reminder that even if we are done with winter, it is clearly not done with us.