Nearly a foot of snow fell from a storm system that moved over the area, closing schools, making travel difficult

Even though the calendar says spring, last week felt anything but spring-like.

Snow fall began Tuesday night and significant amounts fell Wednesday and Thursday, canceling schools in the area and causing travel difficulties.

Thanks to heavy, wet snow, roads were made slick Thursday morning, and many drivers found travel difficult. Most roads in the Brown County area were listed as no travel advised on Thursday morning, however by Thursday afternoon, with the efforts of snow plows and mother nature melting some of it, roads were upgraded to fair driving conditions.

“Nearly a foot of snow fell over the duration of the storm system,” said Public Works director Bob Elston. “It was difficult plowing through. It was slick underneath because it was so wet and that caused some issues with traction.” 

Normally at this time of the year the Sleepy Eye Street Department has begun some preparation for spring weather by removing snow tires on trucks used for hauling snow in the winter and replacing them with summer street tires.

In addition, Elston said some of the plastic liners in trucks used to haul snow had been removed.

Elston added that while snow removal of this magnitude is usually reserved for night time hours when there is less traffic, the state plows had pushed deep snow into the parking lanes on Main Street.

“Knowing the snow was slick and heavy we normally don’t go into the parking areas during the day. But we thought we should since this time it was so deep,” Elston said. “I was pleased with what we were able to do. Traffic was slow due to the cancellations of school and other events. In this case we were able to get it done.” 

The worst that Sleepy Eye had to deal with, for the most part, was wet heavy snow. To the west, areas from Luverne to Jackson to Worthington were especially hard hit.

Along with tremendous damage to trees, power lines and property, thousands of residents in southwest Minnesota were without electrical power for multiple days.

In response, the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) created a Nobles County Area Disaster Relief Fund.

The fund provides a vehicle to collect tax deductible contributions that will support grants to individuals and businesses in need, fund clean-up and recovery efforts and fund organizations critical to the community in times of crisis.

Donations to support these relief efforts can be made to the Nobels County Area Disaster Relief Fund online by credit card through Give MN. A link is available at

Despite this weather putting a delay on an already late spring, it is good news for the Western Corn Belt region, which until recently, had been tapped as the area to watch for a dry summer and possible crop problems.

Ag climatologist Greg Soulje says that relief is on the way, bringing more rain and less drought.

The El Nino/La Nina cycle is in the neutral phase, Soulje explained, setting up for lingering cold and warm air masses to duke it out during June and July over the midwest.

Soulje said he is not guaranteeing that every area of the Corn Belt will go into the season completely recharged, but said there has been significant improvement to some of the driest areas in March.

And the past week’s rain/snow mix has helped that along.