By the time the first winter storm of the season diminished, between 12 and 14 inches of snow fell in Hubbard County, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Grand Forks.

NWS meteorologist technician Bill Barrett said Friday morning that they were busy updating their two-day storm totals with local storm reports from observers.

"We've had a million of them, as the storm affected virtually the whole area that we cover," he said.

Barrett said the two-day storm total received from Paul Laturnus, who is seven miles south of Nevis, was 12.5 inches, while a Sebeka observer reported 13 inches.

Official storm totals from Park Rapids and Menahga were not available at press time, but will be included on the Enterprise website as they become available.

Barrett explained that they receive snow depth reports from a combination of people. "We get them off social media from contributors after they undergo quality control and we also have a network of neighborhood observers and volunteers," he said. "Sheriffs also sometimes send in reports as do emergency managers."

Updates and photographs are posted on the NWS Facebook page.

Barrett said winds overnight caused drifting snow that made snow appear deeper in some areas. "The winds were pretty exceptional," he said.

While the snow has stopped, blustery conditions have not. Wind gusts topped 37 mph Thursday night in Park Rapids, according to the NWS, and continued into Friday. Wind chill values as low as 30 below are predicted through Saturday.

As of Friday morning, Hubbard County Deputy Sheriff Scott Parks reported "a few cars in the ditch here and there," but, for the most part, he said "it was pretty uneventful as far as accidents go."

The system that brought snow to the region was part of a massive storm that caused tornadoes in Texas and rain as far north as the Twin Cities where a "flash freeze" was predicted as temperatures dropped.

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation website, most roads in the region were partially to completely snow covered and slippery, as of Friday morning. Updated reports on road conditions are available by calling 511 and entering road numbers or visiting 511mn.org.

First round of snow

According to the NWS, the first round of snow left much of the region with around 5 to 8 inches of snowfall.

Snow plows, snowblowers and shovels were out in force Thursday morning while the snow continued to fall. Both the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office and Park Rapids Police Department said there were no weather-related accidents.

"We're doing fine, so far. No accidents to report," said Park Rapids Police Chief Jeff Appel on Thursday. Appel said, thanks to schools being on holiday break and many people still on vacation, there was reduced traffic.

Appel noted the that when the wind whips up, it could make things treacherous outside of town.

"We advise people to stay at home," he said.

Appel said the department has all-wheel drive vehicles so they can respond in almost any conditions. They also have access to bigger vehicles with higher clearance when they assist the county on calls.

Meanwhile, neighbors helped neighbors dig out Thursday morning. In Park Rapids, Mike Mountjoy cleared snow drifts from his neighbor's driveway with his ATV.

Michelle Leigland and Nathan Younkin live on U.S. Hwy. 71 north. Snow plows buried their all-wheel-drive Subaru. It took them 30 minutes to clear the snow.

Leigland said when her four-year-old, Eli, "saw Dad going out, he said, 'I'm going, too.' He went from naked to dressed in minutes."

Eli attempted to "help" his parents by shoveling snow with a broom. A passerby stopped to call out, "That's the cutest thing I've ever seen!"

Ken Phillips, who has towing service in Menahga, said he had seven calls Thursday for vehicles that went off the road.

Nick Gartner of Nick's Towing said it was business as usual until between 2 and 4 p.m. when six calls for tows came in.

"For some reason, it just went wild," he said. All of the callers had gone in the ditch at various locations in the country.

"The snow is so doggone deep, it will just throw you," Gartner said.

He said he had not heard of any serious accidents. "There is a lot less traffic with school being out," he said. "Also people are driving slower and I honestly believe this year people are just being a little more careful. They knew the storm was coming for awhile and that helped, too." With below-zero temperatures in the forecast, Gartner's advice is "get a frost plug heater and plug it in. That makes them start real well." He explained that is an engine block heater and said a good battery that is fully charged is also important. "Those things make all the difference in the world," he said.