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Where was all the snow?

December 14, 2008 - Per Peterson
As president of my church’s council, I had a decision to make Sunday morning — cancel the service or not. I really didn’t want to cancel, as our Christmas program — starring most of my family (including yours truly) was scheduled. But our vicar and I agreed that we should cancel it. Just makes sense. Wedidn’t want members of our congregation, some of whom are elderly, trying to decide whether or not to head out and then regretting it 10 minutes later as they’re sitting in a ditch somewhere. Or, after sitting insdie the church for a couple of hours, opening the doors to leave only to find things have gotten much worse. And while it did get pretty nasty Sunday morning, we should be counting our blessings that it wasn’t much, much worse. Sure, it was bitterly cold and wind gusts were flirting with 40 mph, but I don’t think it even snowed — at least in the morning. We’re lucky, considering what it was doing to the north and west of us. The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed several roads in western and northwestern Minnesota due to dangerous road conditions Sunday, the Associated Press said. Interstate 94 was closed between Moorhead and Alexandria, Minnesota Highway 10 is closed between Moorhead and Detroit Lakes and Minnesota Highway 210 is closed between Breckenridge and Fergus Falls. The National Weather Service estimated as much as 13 inches of snow had fallen at Williston, N.D., and about a foot in Bismarck, N.D., and strong winds whipped the powdery snow and cut visibility. The South Dakota Highway Patrol said Interstate 90 was closed for nearly 200 miles from Chamberlain, S.D., west to Rapid City, S.D., and that police were sweeping the closed section to remove any stranded motorists, the AP said. Secondary roads in some other parts of the state were under a ‘‘no travel’’ advisory. Wind gusted to nearly 50 mph across most of South Dakota. As I looked out the windows at our office in downtown Marshall on Sunday at around 2 p.m., it looked like the wind was still swirling, but at least I could see the courthouse clearly — I couldn’t when I got to work at 11:30 a.m. Besides major visibility issues, the drive to Marshall from the south wasn’t horrible. Because it didn’t snow, 59 was dry — what you could see of it. This is basically another example of an oncoming storm getting way overblown. People around here tend to think the sky is about to fall when a watch is issued, and while we do get our fair share of winter weather around these parts, a lot of times we end up getting an inch or two after rumors of 8 to 10 inches swirl around town like snowflakes during a blizzard. We have a knack for freaking ourselves out during the winter months, which, I suppose, isn’t that bad of a thing. Better to err on the side of caution, right? All this means is: look out for the next storm system. We were all but spared this time around. Next time, we could very well get blasted with a foot of snow. There, consider the weather rumor mill officially open.


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