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More winter weather in store this week

MARSHALL — The calendar may say it’s April, but it looks like winter will still be lingering in southwest Minnesota this week. Lyon County is one of several area counties that will be under a winter weather advisory today.

“We’re looking at four to six inches of snow,” said Brad Adams of the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls. Snow in the Marshall is most likely to fall before 5 p.m., and winds could gust as high as 35 miles per hour, according to National Weather Service forecasts.

Lyon County, along with Murray, Cottonwood, Nobles and Jackson counties, will be in a winter weather advisory from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. today. Lincoln, Pipesone and Rock counties will have a winter weather advisory in effect from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. Yellow Medicine, Redwood, Renville, Chippewa and Lac Qui Parle Counties will be in a winter weather advisory from 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. All three advisories warn of difficult travel conditions, like snow-covered roads and limited visibility. Wind gusts in the Marshall area could reach 30 miles per hour, according to National Weather Service forecasts.

There’s also another chance of snow coming in the Marshall area forecast for Sunday. Adams said temperatures should stay cool in the area through the week, with daytime highs in the 20s and 30s.

Drivers should exercise caution in winter weather conditions — and that extends to using headlights, said Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, director of public engagement for Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8. When it’s snowing, vehicles on the road are difficult to see without headlights on, Lighthizer-Schmidt said. Drivers need to turn off automatic daytime lights and manually turn on their headlights, she said.

On Monday, area road crews were preparing for more snow.

“We’re kind of waiting for the snow to come,” said Dean Berg, road and bridge superintendent for Lyon County. The timing of snowfall, plus other factors like wind, have an effect on when plow drivers start clearing county roads, Berg said. As of Monday afternoon, forecasts said most of the snow was likely to fall during the daylight hours Tuesday.

Berg said the wet snow Lyon County has been getting did pose a challenge for snow removal. With gravel roads too wet and soft to use plows on, it can take longer to clear away the snow. Berg urged county residents to be patient.

Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said city street crews were also watching the forecasts on Monday to determine when to go to work. City snow removal response would also depend somewhat on the kind and amount of snow Marshall gets, Olson said. During the last couple of winter storms, when Marshall received 10 or more inches of heavy, difficult-to-remove snow, city staff helped clear out driveway entrances that had been blocked by snowplows. Olson said that was a new response by the city, and it had a lot to do with the sheer amount of snow that fell.

“It’s something we wouldn’t do for a four-inch snow,” he said.

While the snow that’s been falling this spring has been heavy and wet, Olson said Marshall hasn’t been having problems with drainage or flooding. Cold temperatures have helped slow melting and runoff after the last couple of winter storms.

The biggest impact of a snowy spring, Olson and Berg said, is the delay it can cause to planned construction projects. In the spring, Lyon County is normally preparing to start maintenance projects like seal coating and filling cracks on county roads, Berg said.

This year, he said, “It’s the winter that never ends.”

Olson said cold and wet weather could potentially delay the start of city construction projects to have a May start instead of an April one.

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