South-central Wisconsin escaped the worst of a powerful and historic spring snow storm that pounded the Upper Midwest over the weekend, but local authorities remained busy contending with slick road conditions.
In central Wisconsin, snow totals topped 30 inches in some spots across the Wausau to Green Bay corridor: Carlsville in Door County reported 31.6 inches, Tigerton in Shawano County 30.6 inches, Stiles in Oconto County 30.5 inches, Peshtigo in Marinette County 27.5 inches, and Suamico in Brown County 25.5 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
Green Bay officially received 23.7 inches of snow, with 2.5 inches on Friday, 11 inches on Saturday and 10.2 inches on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Those totals set new records for the city for April 13, 14 and 15, and made it the biggest storm in the city in 130 years.
Green Bay's largest snowstorm dumped 29 inches in March 1888.
The blizzard brought more snow than any other April storm in Green Bay's history, and put this month's snow accumulation beyond any other April on record, Roy Eckberg of the National Weather Service told the Green Bay Press-Gazette in this story.
Emergency crews in the Green Bay area responded to multiple reports of roofs partially collapsing under the weight of the heavy, wet snow.
In Ashwaubenon, the roof over the pool area at Econo Lodge collapsed around 9:40 a.m. No injuries were reported as the pool was not occupied at the time and the hotel was evacuated as a result of the incident.
Because of the travel challenges it created for his players, Packers coach Mike McCarthy pushed the start of the offseason workouts back a day to Tuesday — weather permitting.
Green Bay Area Public Schools, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Brown County circuit courts are among schools, government offices and businesses closed in the aftermath of a record blizzard in Wisconsin.
Snowfall records also were set in Appleton and Wausau.
Across southern Wisconsin, the storm brought severe thunderstorms, wind gusts of 45 to 50 miles per hour, sleet, freezing rain, and heavy snow. Waves of nearly 15 feet along the Lake Michigan shoreline also led to localized lakeshore flooding. The heaviest snow of 6 to 10 inches fell along and north of a line from Wisconsin Dells to Fond du Lac to Sheboygan.
Dane County sheriff's deputies had responded to dozens of cars going off the road and crashes throughout Saturday and Sunday, said Lt. Tim Schuetz, but he added that no serious injuries had been reported by Sunday afternoon.
“We certainly have had our share of runoffs and minor crashes,” Schuetz said.
Madison police Sgt. Nick Ellis said the mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow also caused minor crashes Saturday night into Sunday morning.
In Columbia County, officials shut down the Merrimac ferry Saturday due to high winds, but it was operating again on Sunday.
Further north, though, authorities warned of impassable roads and told residents not to travel unless it was an emergency.
By 1 p.m. on Sunday, Madison officially had 1.5 inches of snow, while areas around Stevens Point, Wausau and Green Bay recorded between 15 to 20 inches, with more expected to fall into Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm system prompted Enbridge Energy to temporarily shutter twin oil and gas pipelines in Michigan that may have been recently damaged by a ship anchor strike.
The Line 5 pipelines were temporarily shuttered Sunday afternoon due to a power outage at Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy told the Detroit News. Enbridge decided to shut down the twin pipelines until weather conditions improve in the Straits of Mackinac, which links Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, Duffy said.
At least three deaths were blamed on the storm system, which stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. Storms also knocked down trees, caused airport delays and dropped hail on the Carolinas.
At the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where more than 13 inches of snow had fallen, 230 flights were canceled Sunday. Two runways were open, but winds were still strong and planes were being de-iced, spokesman Patrick Hogan said. On Saturday, the storm caused the cancellation of nearly 470 flights at the airport.
The wintry grip on the Twin Cities continued to keep the boys of summer off the diamond, forcing the postponement of the third straight Twins-White Sox game. The Yankees and Tigers were rained out Saturday in Detroit and had planned to play a double-header on Sunday, but the first game of Sunday’s twin bill was also postponed, leaving just the night game as a remote possibility.
The prolonged wintry weather is “starting to beat everybody down,” said Erik Ordal, who lives in downtown Minneapolis and was taking his 3-month-old golden retriever puppy, Dakota, out for a walk in the snow. Ordal, who grew up in South Dakota, said he is used to the cold, snowy weather “but I’m certainly ready for some warmth.”
The storm finally let up in South Dakota, allowing the airport in the state’s largest city, Sioux Falls, to reopen for the first time since Thursday. Interstates 90 and 29 in parts of eastern South Dakota also reopened, and no-travel advisories were lifted across the state border in southwestern Minnesota.
In Michigan, freezing rain that began falling overnight had left roads treacherous and cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses by midday Sunday even as heavy snow was forecast to dump a foot or more of snow on parts of the state’s Upper Peninsula by early Monday.
The airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, tweeted Sunday that severe weather had caused a ground stop and forced air traffic controllers to leave their tower. The National Weather Service said it received a report of an afternoon tornado sighting near Greensboro that caused damage to at least seven homes and destroyed a mobile classroom at an elementary school.
Meanwhile, television stations in Charlotte were posting images of large hail.
To the south, Lexington County, South Carolina, officials said several buildings were damaged and toppled trees were blocking roads, but no injuries were reported.
In both North and South Carolina, tens of thousands of homes and businesses were without power Sunday.
There have been three deaths blamed on the storm system.
- A sleeping 2-year-old girl in Louisiana was killed when a tree fell on her family’s recreational vehicle early Saturday.
- A Wisconsin woman was killed when she lost control of her minivan on slick roads and veered into an oncoming SUV.
- And an Idaho truck driver was killed when his semitrailer struck a semi in western Nebraska that had been stranded on a highway by the bad weather.
In Arkansas, a tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg on Friday, injuring at least four people. In Texas, hail the size of hen eggs fell south of Dallas, according to meteorologist Patricia Sanchez.
And another round of snow may possibly hit midweek in the Upper Midwest, said Eric Ahasic, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
“It’s not going to be as much snow as this one, thankfully,” Ahasic said of the possibility.