12-plus inches of snow fell over the weekend

This latest winter storm brings the total snowfall since Nov. 1 to over 70 inches.


More than a foot of snow fell in some areas of the north woods over the weekend, and many residents are still cleaning up.

Itasca State Park naturalist Connie Cox reported that the area in and around the park received approximately 11 inches.

The snow also created a lot of work for city maintenance workers.

Reid Watson is the public works supervisor for the city of Akeley.

“I would have to say I think we got 12 or 13 inches here,” he said. “I was in the big, diesel dump truck and had a guy in the pickup and another guy in the small dump truck. We plowed for seven hours on Sunday, with all three of us going. We put it off until early Sunday morning, as people were still getting around OK and we didn’t want to plug their driveways twice. It took three times as normal to plow because it was so much. And we’re running out of places to put it.”


Watson said that seven hours was just the city streets and alleys.

He said the next step will be to get the backhoe out to push snow piles into different areas to make room for more snow.

“We all know we’ll get more snow,” he said.

As of Monday morning, he said there were still snow piles on the shoulders of State Hwy. 34.

“When MnDOT gets a chance, they come and haul it away for us,” he said. “It usually takes them a week or two.”

Watson said it would be nice if people didn’t block the alleys or streets after a snow.

“We hate to plow them in,” he said. “If they could park at a neighbor's, that would help.”

He said the big piles of snow left behind by the plow are also making some roads narrow. “Especially Crow Wing Lake Drive,” he said. “That’s getting down to one lane. We need some snow to melt. We opened the campground a month late last year. We’re hoping to be open by May 1 this year but it’s weather dependent.


Snow creates challenges

Scott Burlingame is the public works superintendent for the city of Park Rapids. He said on Monday that his department will be working on snow cleanup for a few more days.

“I think we got 12-plus inches of snow, but that’s just a guess,” he said. “All 10 of us at public works have been out there working. We do the same no matter how much snow falls, but it just takes longer when more snow falls. This is my 30th year of doing snow removal. My opinion is we’ve had enough snow now.”

His advice to residents is to move their cars off the street so those removing snow at night can get the job done.

“And don’t plow your driveways until we get the streets done,” he added. “Another thing we’ve been seeing a lot lately is people plowing snow across the street. That’s illegal. It’s a safety issue. We had one of our plows hit a ridge that had been plowed across the road with the wing. It gets hard after a day, like a rock, and it spun the plow sideways.”

Drivers also need to be careful at intersections.

“Cars are basically driving around in tunnels,” he said. “They’re not seeing over the banks any more because they’re so tall. Hopefully, we see some melt going on. The snow has some strength now. We will work on hauling some of those snow banks around once we get everything plowed. Even though we’re a small town, we plow hundreds of miles every snowfall. There are 50 miles of streets in town, but every street gets at least two passes. Some need three or four passes. That adds up in a hurry. We have three trucks to plow the entire town.”


Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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