Unfortunately for area students, the weekend snowfall only delayed most schools by two hours, but the 8.5-in. to over a foot of snow reported in the lakes area will have a positive financial impact.
“This is a million dollar snow,” said one enthusiast of the recent storm. “It’ll get people up here snowmobiling, eating at area restaurants and staying at our resorts.”
Snowmobilers will have some of the best snow pack in years in which to enjoy area trail rides.
Reports of up to 18-inches of snow were noted. In fact, late Sunday afternoon the Minnesota State Patrol closed Hwy. 210 in the western most counties of the state and then shut down I-94 from Alexandria to Moorhead. White-out conditions and heavy snowfall forced the closures.
The weekend snow dump did produce some of the best downhill skiing at Mount Ski Gull and cross country skiers should find trails in the best condition in years.
Area businesses that count on an average snowfall should find this recent storm a door buster. Sellers of snowblowers, plows, shovels and roof rakes should have only one difficulty — keeping up with demand.
Snowmobile sales and rentals have slumped in recent years due to lack of good snow cover.
Kids, those who enjoy building snow forts and digging tunnels, should have enough to build until they are exhausted. (Everyone, except school-age children, is thankful that the region was not belted with the three to four feet that hit the Eastern Seaboard states.)
Heavy snow this winter might even dull the edge of the state’s severe drought conditions. Up to 70 percent of the state had been hit with a year or two of extremely dry conditions, which hampered corn, wheat and soybean crop harvests.
Of course, the folks along the Red River will pay a price for all of this snowfall come spring break up. That flood-prone western part of the state will be flooded as the snow melts. (I’m sure most of those folks are hoping for a slow melt.)
Whatever the downside might be for the last major snowfall, it’s almost certain that the near-term benefits will far outweigh the negatives of the spring thaw.
One more positive impact of a heavy snow pack is the refilling of ponds, wetlands and lakes that dominate our region’s landscape.
Get out and enjoy the benefits of a real winter.