Region digs out Monday

People all over Webster County spent Monday digging out after a winter storm caused nearly a foot of snow to fall throughout the county.

Local officials said Sunday’s storm was one of the biggest of the season.

Tony Jorgensen, Webster County Emergency Management coordinator, reported that 10 inches of snow fell in Webster County.

“I think this is one of the bigger storms we’ve had,” he said. “This storm had much wetter snow in addition to the high winds that we’ve had with other storms.”

He added that blowing snow made it seem like more than 10 inches had accumulated in certain areas.

“Hopefully this will help with some of the moisture that we need badly,” Jorgensen said.

Throughout the county, the snow caused problems for plow drivers trying to clear off rural roads.

County Engineer Randy Will said this was because of how much moisture the snow had.

“Whenever you get wet snow, that creates a lot of challenges for our equipment,” he said. “We’ve had a handful of our operators slide off and get stuck.”

Will said this problem mainly affected gravel roads.

“Warmer temperatures and wet snow always make plowing gravel roads difficult,” he said.

While the county was expected to clear all the roads Monday, Will said some gravel roads might not get plowed until this morning.

“We’ll do as much as we can as best we can today,” he said Monday. “Our policy is to first plow the paved roads before we move on to gravel roads.”

In Fort Dodge, Public Works Director Greg Koch said city crews started clearing snow Sunday afternoon.

“Our first shift worked from noon until midnight,” he said. “We brought in our second shift and they worked until noon today.”

Koch said crews spent all day Monday working.

“Right now we’re doing cleanup,” he said Monday afternoon. “All the priority snow routes have been open and now we’re working on our residential streets.”

He added crews will still be out today making sure the streets are clear.

“We foresee a lot of this melting,” Koch said. “We’re going to make sure we’ve got drains open so we can facilitate the snowmelt and avoid flooding in areas.”

He added the storm was a challenge for work crews, but they were able to accomplish their job.

“This was a heck of a snowstorm that hit us,” he said. “But I think our guys did a terrific job staying with it.”

Fort Dodge residents spent their Monday morning cleaning up after the storm.

Rob Heperle used his snow blower to clear the sidewalks in front of his rental properties, including one at Second Avenue North and North 17th St.

“I’ve been going since 6,” he said. “I’ve got many more to do, and I haven’t even done my own property yet. I always do that one last.”

A couple blocks away, Kelly Danielsen was using a shovel to clear the sidewalk in front of her home at 302 N. 17th St.

“There were three of us last night and it took us two hours to get everything cleared,” she said. “This is the third time I’ve shoveled.”

Danielsen said the snow forced her to cancel plans she had to visit family.

“I had originally planned on going up to Algona to see my dad,” she said Monday. “Maybe tomorrow.”

Across town, Trevor Schorzmann and Zoey Miller each used their own shovels to clear the sidewalk in front of 605 N. 13th St.

“We tried to use the snow blower, but it wouldn’t get started,” Schorzmann said. “We’ve been out here for about an hour with the shovels.”

Despite the snow, Miller said the shoveling was keeping her warm.

“I’m dying of heat,” she said.

Lt. Kelly Hindman, of the Iowa State Patrol, said the snow’s wetness caused problems for travelers.

“We have had problems from (U.S.) Highway 20 between Moorland and I-35 as well as some incidents on (U.S. Highway) 169,” he said.

Hindman said the fact the storm began on Sunday, when there are fewer drivers on the road, likely contributed to the lack of serious incidents.

“Today’s been a little challenging because people have places to go,” Hindman said Monday.

Though there were traffic incidents, Hindman said many of them were minor.

“Cars are just getting banged up and ending up in the ditch or median,” he said. “All in all, for as significant a snowfall event as we had, there thankfully haven’t been any significant crashes.”