Blanketed by blizzard

Downtown business owners did their best to keep the sidewalks clear, but as the snow failed to let up, many found shoveling to be sisyphean task.

NEW ULM — Monday was a good day for New Ulm residents to stay indoors. A blizzard created near whiteout conditions, with snow accumulation predicted at between nine and fifteen inches.

Travel within the city was difficult despite round-the-clock snow plowing. The New Ulm Street Department was in high gear clearing streets in the wake of the first major winter blizzard of the season.

Street Superintendent Curt Curry said the snowplows did a complete pass through the entire city Monday afternoon.

New Ulm has 88 miles of paved roads to clear and an additional 425 blocks of alleys.

After the complete pass-through, a team of five snowplows removed snow from the priority streets from early morning Monday until 10 p.m.

The Street Department snowplow teams return to work at 4 a.m. Tuesday, to plow away any remaining snow.

Curry said this was one of the worst blizzards seen over the past few years. The nature of the snowfall created additional challenges for the Street Department. Since the snow is thick and heavy, the plows must remove it as it falls. Curry said if the snow is allowed to sit too long, it would be harder to remove Tuesday morning

Salt was used sparely by the department, as the snow continued to fall. Any salt put down while the blizzard continues will be swept away by the plows. Only the main priority roads have been salted.

Despite the best effort of road crews, numerous vehicles became stalled in the snow. Between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. the New Ulm Police Department responded to 12 stalled and abandoned vehicles at locations throughout the city.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) reported roads leaving New Ulm were completely covered by snow by mid-afternoon. Travel to Nicollet, Springfield and Hanska was not advised.

The blizzard had an effect on several of events and programs scheduled. A special public input event on the New Ulm Police Department body camera policy was rescheduled to Monday, Feb. 26, at the City Hall Council Chambers.

The Life Living Series program with Toni Schutta was cancelled and will be rescheduled for a different time. April Ide with the New Ulm Library said a press release will be issued once a suitable makeup day is scheduled.