The winter that won't go away
That seemed to be the collective mood in Douglas County Monday after another winter storm wrecked routines, closed roads and schools, and froze any notions of spring.
This time around, the storm didn't deliver tons of snow. Totals varied widely throughout the county, ranging from two to six inches.
But howling winds, some gusting up to 50 miles per hour, created thigh-high drifts across driveways and whiteout conditions in open areas.
Schools throughout the area closed Monday. There's no longer much cause for students to celebrate "snow days" off, however, since they'll have to make up for it at the end of the year.
Alexandria School District 206, for example, had two snow days built into its calendar (late starts or early dismissals don't count) and used both of them up before the March 15 and March 18 storms. So now, instead of school ending on Wednesday, May 29, it will be prolonged until Friday, May 31. And that's assuming there will be no more snow days in the weeks ahead.
Several businesses again closed up shop early or didn't open at all on Monday. The Viking Plaza Mall closed, along with Midway Cinema 9, several banks, the YMCA, the AAAA Theatre, the Alexandria Senior Center, the Outreach Food Shelf and other locations.
Interstate 94 between Alexandria and Moorhead closed at 11 p.m. Sunday and didn't re-open until 5 p.m. Monday.
One bad crash was reported in the area just as the weather was getting ugly. It happened Sunday night on Highway 29 in Pope County about four miles north of Glenwood (see related story).
Alexandria firefighters had to fight the conditions while responding to a barn fire at 3:30 a.m. Monday near Holmes City (see related story).
The blizzard warning was lifted at 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Golf clubs, bicycles and gardening tools will have to stay stowed for a while.
Temperatures are expected to remain below normal through the rest of this week, even though spring officially arrived on the calendar at 6:02 a.m. this morning.
The forecast for Thursday, Friday and Saturday calls for high temperatures of 20, 25 and 32 degrees while the normal high temperatures this time of year are 40 degrees.
According to Alexandria meteorologist Mark Anthony, the six to 10-day outlook calls for below normal temperatures with near average or slightly above normal precipitation.