Love it or hate it

WORTHINGTON -- Basketball games were postponed, church services were cancelled and those who did venture outdoors slipped and slid their way along coated sidewalks and city streets this weekend.

WORTHINGTON -- Basketball games were postponed, church services were cancelled and those who did venture outdoors slipped and slid their way along coated sidewalks and city streets this weekend.

Approximately 6.5 inches of snow fell in Worthington, with greater amounts to the north and east, according to Richard Ryrholm, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls, S.D. The storm began with freezing rain in the early morning hours Saturday, switching over to wet, heavy snow by late afternoon and through the overnight.

Talked about for nearly a week, the winter storm lived up to its potential. Likely few people will complain the 9 to 12 inches of snow forecast in the tri-state area ended up falling to the north and east of Worthington.

"We knew there was going to be a storm somewhere up here in the Midwest, and it turned out to be a fairly widespread storm," said Ryrholm. "(Making predictions) is kind of an inexact science."

Ryrholm said the system that blanketed the region was caused by an upper level low pressure system that came out of the southern Rockies up through Kansas and Nebraska.


"It's kind of the classic," he said. "It's a pretty sure bet you're going to have heavy snow."

It wasn't the snow, but the ice that caused trouble for Federated Rural Electric customers in Jackson County and points east.

Federated's general manager of utility offices in Nobles and Jackson counties Rick Burud said a transmission line four miles southwest of Jackson severed Saturday afternoon as a result of ice build-up of one-quarter to one-half inch.

"We first lost (power in) Martin County at 10:30 in the morning Saturday and worked until 5 in the afternoon," Burud said. Around 4:30 p.m., linemen learned of the downed transmission line outside of Jackson. Crews worked on the line through the night, finally getting power restored to most residences by 4 a.m.

At the most, Burud said there were about 2,000 utility customers without power at any one time. By Sunday afternoon, power had been restored to nearly all customers, but just how long that lasted was going to depend on the wind.

"There's a lot of ice on the transmission line between Nobles and Jackson counties," Burud said. "If the wind comes up, we will have some problems."

Weather forecasts are calling for breezy conditions on Tuesday, just ahead of another winter storm.

"We think we've got a pretty good storm coming in Wednesday and Thursday, but we don't know yet where it will be," Ryrholm said. "It's not a widespread system, but don't be surprised if heavy snow is going to land in your area."


Thursday is March 1, and if the prediction of snow holds true, it looks like area residents will be welcoming the lion instead of the lamb.

"March is a bad time of year," Ryrholm said. "We get a lot of our bad snowstorms in March. It's kind of a busy weather pattern."

That leaves businesses relying on income from snow removal with something to look forward to.

Mike Fogelman of Mike's Mini Excavating spent much of Sunday clearing snow from commercial parking lots in Worthington.

"It's been kind of tough, but we're getting there," he said as he worked to clear lots following the biggest snowstorm of the winter.

While Fogelman had plenty of room to pile snow in the commercial lots he clears, the City of Worthington has to haul much of the snow that piles up on city streets and public areas.

"This was just a normal snowfall," said Jim Laffrenzen, Worthington's director of Public Works. "What makes it so easy to move snow in this town is we have a dedicated and talented crew."

Street department workers were out by 6 a.m. Saturday applying salt on streets as freezing rain was coming down. They remained on duty until about noon, and then hit the streets again at 1 a.m. Sunday for a 12-hour shift to clear streets of the snow.


Snow removed from Worthington streets was hauled to city-owned property on Sherwood Street, across from Worthington Ready Mix.

While the storm created work for snow removal businesses and city and county road crews, it allowed for the region's snowmobilers to enjoy a little bit of winter.

"It should get people excited again," said Todd Henderson of Worthington. "It hasn't been the best (for snowmobiling this winter)."

Henderson rode from Worthington to Reading Sunday afternoon with his brother and said the conditions are good.

"The ditches are pretty decent, but you have to be careful, because there's a lot of hard (packed snow) underneath," he added.

Frosty Riders Snowmobile Club has had its groomers out on trails a few times this winter, and Henderson said it should be out again this week after the latest storm.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
What To Read Next
Get Local