Monday's freezing rain, followed by today's snow, made a mess of area roads, caused power outages and was a factor in one area fatal accident.
In total, the Brainerd area got about 1/2-inch of ice Monday night and about 2 inches of snow, with up to two more inches of snow expected to fall today said Ed Shimon, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth.
The southern part of the area received the most snow, with Morrison County and St. Cloud reporting up to 4 inches of snow. Though the storm is weakening, it will hang in a band over the Staples-Brainerd area into northern Minnesota until tonight, Shimon said, when the storm will move into Wisconsin.
The fatal accident, which was reported at 10:47 p.m. near the Brainerd-Crow Wing County Regional Airport, was the peak of a 90-minute deluge of calls to law enforcement in regard to vehicles in ditches, the Crow Wing County Sheriff's dispatch reported.
Morrison, Aitkin, Wadena and Cass counties all reported ice on roads, but there were very few reports of cars in ditches in those counties.
Shimon called the rain showers that fell across central and southern Minnesota a unique event for January. The Brainerd area received, before it froze, what amounted to a quarter-inch of rain Monday.
"Rain in January is not all that common, it's not typical," he said, adding that January and February is the middle of the snow, not rain, season. "Usually, January is the coldest period of time in our part of the country ... and I personally classify (the rain) as unusual."
Power was knocked out in northeast Brainerd and in Nisswa, where at 8:30 a.m. today electricity had yet to be restored in Nisswa.
The storm also resulted in two-hour late school starts in Little Falls, Staples, Pillager and Pierz. Verndale canceled school for the day.
Area athletic events tonight also were affected. Three Brainerd High School events were either postponed or canceled. The girls' basketball game at Rocori was postponed with no makeup date set. The wrestling meet at Willmar was postponed until 7 p.m. Feb. 12, varsity only. The gymnastics meet at Sauk Centre was canceled.
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