May Snowstorm Leaves 30K Without Power


The May snowstorm slopping across northwestern Wisconsin has left numerous cars in ditches and 30,000 people without power.

The latest numbers have 12 inches of snow in Saxon, 14 inches in Grandview, 16 inches near Hayward, and about a foot and a half in Ashland. Ashland Daily Press reporter Rick Olivo says the wet, sticky snow challenges people who have become resigned to a rash of snowstorms this spring.

“It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before on the second of May. It’s just awful. We’re not even making jokes of it anymore. People are just so sick of it.”

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It gotten so bad, the Department of Transportation banned tow trucks from going out for a while this morning, and plow jockeys had their hands full. Ashland County Highway Commissioner Emmer Shields says it’s been a treacherous day.

“It’s pretty hazardous driving. We’ve seen a lot of cars off the road today. We had a few near-misses with our plow trucks with vehicles going out of control. The primary problem is just trying to keep up with the rate of snowfall.”

They couldn’t keep up for a while. Xcel Energy has mustered 327 linemen and trouble shooters to restore power to 54,000 customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Spokesman Brian Elwood says they’ve been working since before sun-up: “I don’t think anyone was thinking it was May when we woke up this morning.”

He says this snow is straining wires from southern Minnesota to Ashland.

“The tree branches are falling into power lines or just the heavy, wet snow is dragging the power lines down. We’re getting reports from crews the snow is just accumulating on the wires and hadn’t really melted away this morning. Typically, we would assume it would.”

Elwood expects most people to be back on line tonight, but a few might not have power until tomorrow.

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