BROWN COUNTY - Several inches of snow that began falling early Wednesday morning and continued into the afternoon, kept City of New Ulm and Brown County snowplow operators busy Wednesday.
Five New Ulm trucks began plowing snow at 4 a.m. Wednesday and continued until 8 p.m., according to New Ulm Assistant Street Commissioner Curt Curry.
Crews planned to be back on the job early today.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
A snowplow clears snow just outside of New Ulm on Highway 14 just over the Minnesota River bridge on Wednesday. Official snowfall in New Ulm by early afternoon was 5.5 inches.
"We'll do a full plow beginning at 4 a.m. Thursday, followed by a Downtown Snow Emergency at 1 a.m. Friday," Curry said.
The City of Sleepy Eye declared a Snow Emergency as of 10 p.m. Wednesday. No parking will be allowed on the designated Snow Emergency Routes of U.S. Highway 14 and State Highway 4 within city limits, and downtown from 3rd Avenue East to State Highway 4 and from Walnut Street to Oak Street. Residents had until midnight Wednesday to remove vehicles from designated routes or be subject to ticketing and towing.
Nine Brown County Highway Department trucks with snowplows and four motor graders split into two shifts, one group working from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., the other from 8 a.m. to five or six p.m.
"We're barely hanging even. We're scraping it off, but it's coming right back on. It's still snowing pretty good," Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens said Wednesday afternoon.
More than 5 inches of snow was reported to have fallen in New Ulm as of early Wednesday afternoon.
With windy conditions forecast to follow the snow, creating a Winter Storm Warning and near blizzard conditions until 6 a.m. Thursday, most area schools began to close early Wednesday afternoon.
New Ulm Police reported eight vehicle accidents from 7:26 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.
On Wednesday afternoon, a semi truck driver lost control on his vehicle on Highway 4 south of Fairfax and went off the road. The driver was not injured.
Cold weather was forecast through Saturday with daytime highs in the single digits and nightly lows below zero.