Spring storm brings snow, misery to Upper Midwest
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesotans slogged through a mid-April storm Sunday that dumped 2 feet of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest, coated roads with ice and battered areas farther south with powerful winds and tornadoes before plowing toward the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S.
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.
The Line 5 pipelines were temporarily shuttered Sunday due to a power outage at Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wis., 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 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 prolonged wintry weather is “starting to beat everybody down,” said Erik Ordal, who lives in downtown Minneapolis. Ordal, who grew up in South Dakota, said he is used to the cold, snowy weather “but I’m certainly ready for some warmth.”
Two northeastern Wisconsin communities, Tigerton and Big Falls, received more than 2 feet of snow over the weekend, the National Weather Service in Green Bay reported. Parts of the state that were already blanketed were getting a second helping on Sunday.
The heavy snow caused part of a hotel roof to collapse over a pool at a hotel near Green Bay, but no one was hurt.
The storm finally let up in South Dakota, allowing the airport in 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, N.C., tweeted Sunday that severe weather had forced air traffic controllers to leave their tower. Meanwhile, television stations in Charlotte were posting images of large hail.
The three deaths blamed blamed on the weather: 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, egg-sized hail fell south of Dallas, according to meteorologist Patricia Sanchez.
And another round of snow is possible midweek in the Upper Midwest, said meteorologist Eric Ahasic at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, Minn.
“It’s not going to be as much snow as this one, thankfully,” Ahasic said.
Paul Tuchtenhagen uses a snow blower Sunday to give Leland, 2, and Ephram, 5, a wintry ride in Rochester, Minn.