April Fools Blizzard Was No Joke For Many Minnesotans
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) -- The April Fools storm of 2023 packed quite a punch, especially for residents of the Twin Cities.
The storm system that produced severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Iowa delivered over a foot of heavy wet snow to areas of the Twin Cities and west central Wisconsin. So far, the highest snowfall total reported to the National Weather Service in Minnesota is 13 inches in Oakdale. There were also reports of more than 11 inches of snow in Woodbury and Coon Rapids, while most other areas of the Twin Cities saw anywhere from 8 to 10 inches of accumulation. The highest snowfall total overall was found in Ladysmith Wisconsin at 15 inches.
The storm dropped around 3 to 4 inches of snow in the Rochester area. The National Weather Service reported 6.2 inches of snow southwest of Owatonna, 6 inches at Dennison, 5.5 inches at Red Wing, 5 inches at Zumbrota, and 4.5 inches of accumulation at Zumbro Falls. Cannon Falls reported 7.6 inches of new snow and 8 inches fell near Northfield.
The storm system also produced some large hail in southeastern Minnesota when strong thunderstorms moved across the region Friday afternoon and evening. Nearly one-inch diameter hail was reported in southern Fillmore County and nearly three-quarter-inch diameter hail fell on an area of rural Northeast Rochester around 5 PM. Quarter-inch was also reported in western Olmsted County and Dodge County.
The nasty weather produced some very difficult driving conditions. The Minnesota State Patrol says it received reports of 275 crashes statewide between 4:30 PM Friday and 7:30 AM today. Those crashes resulted in 28 injuries, but there were no serious injuries or fatalities. The State Patrol also reported there were more than 520 vehicle spin-outs or vehicles off the road and 15 jackknifed semi-trucks.
The heavy wet snow and strong winds resulted in power outages that left hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in Minnesota and western Wisconsin in the dark. Xcel Energy reported that approximately 215,000 of its customers suffered power outages due to the storm, and as of 11 AM on Saturday, more than 50,000 homes and businesses in the Twin Cities were still waiting for their electrical service to be restored.