Blizzard leaves many in area stranded
WORTHINGTON — The worst is over. We hope.
Roads were in such severe conditions that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) issued road closures that spanned from Minnesota 60 northeast of Worthington and U.S. 71 from the Iowa State line to U.S. 14.
The Minnesota 60 closure through Windom resulted in the housing of 71 people at the Business Arts & Recreation Center (BARC) in Windom.
“Well, when the road closed, and since Windom is down to two hotels now, I got a call to open up the BARC Center in the evening,” said Greg Warner, administrator and facility manager for the BARC. “We had guests from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin, and we actually all had a pretty good time despite the weather.”
This is the third time this year that the BARC has had to house folks due to road closures and severe weather conditions.
“The first time we only had one person because only one small road outside of town was closed, but the second one we housed about 70, and then with this third one it was 71,” Warner said.
Dinner and breakfast were provided for overnight guests, as well as cots, which are stored at the BARC in case of these types of emergencies.
Kim Hall, Cottonwood County emergency management director, also helped coordinate travelers into the BARC.
“I was actually stuck at home so I had to coordinate by telephone, but this morning (Friday) I was able to come to the BARC and load up a bus load of people that stayed last night and get them on their way,” Hall explained.
In addition to road closings, several accidents were reported throughout southwest Minnesota.
There was a report of six vehicles stuck in the middle of the road at the intersection of Nobles County 13 and Nobles County 35 in Rushmore on Friday morning, as well as reports of multiple vehicles in ditches or stuck in drifts.
According to Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening, the period of 6 p.m. Thursday through 10 a.m. Friday had Nobles County dispatch receiving 15 calls of vehicles either in the ditch, stuck in a snow drift or rolled over. Only one rollover Friday morning results in injuries that were merely minor, according to Wilkening.
While it may be hard to imagine, southwest Minnesota was not as badly affected as other parts of the state. Gov. Mark Dayton also declared a state of emergency in Minnesota and providing assistance to stranded motorists for Thursday and Friday.
Daily Globe Reporter
Erin Trester may be reached