Snow drifts erased interstates and hundreds of vehicles were left abandoned in the February 2019 mega blizzard that slammed southern Minnesota, but so it goes from time to time in the Bold North.
But when that happens in Texas and Oklahoma, all hell breaks loose. Not to say Minnesota's monster blizzard of two years ago wasn't of epic proportions, but Minnesota is built to handle the most severe winter conditions.
Texas and the Deep South shut down when an inch of snow falls, so you can imagine what's happening there now as temps have plunged into the single digits and half a foot of snow has fallen. In short, a video of blizzard conditions like you see in the video below is something the Deep South just can't handle very well.
Without the equipment to clear and treat roads with the efficiency that the Minnesota Department of Transportation does, the Texas Department of Transportation has advised Texans to stay home.
"This truly is a marathon winter weather event. Ice and snow is affecting roads all across the state. If you can, stay home," the Texas DOT said.
The freezing conditions have been affecting northern and central Texas since late last week. Last Thursday, there was a 133-vehicle pileup that killed six people and injured many more in Fort Worth. Even far southern Texas is feeling impacts of the harsh Arctic outbreak.
"We know a wintry mix of rain, sleet/snow and black ice will making its appearance later this evening and into Monday morning with freezing temperatures lasting into Thursday in south Texas just as it has throughout the rest of the state. Stay home and stay safe to avoid horrific crashes like we have experienced all ready in northern and central Texas," the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
On Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a release asking Texans to conserve as much power as possible by "unplugging devices when not in use, closing windows and blinds, and adjusting thermostats to 68 degrees or below." Despite the warning, more than 1.8 million Texas residents were victims of rolling power outages Monday morning.
The Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service said the storm in Texas "is as impressive as anything we see up here."
The same storm system is now forecast to move northeast. Winter storm warnings are issued all the way from Texas up through Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. And as that storm is wrapping up in the Northeast, another winter storm could develop and move over many of the same areas.
Minnesota remains mostly dry, though temperatures will finally push above zero on Tuesday, with high temps next weekend possibly reaching 30 degrees.
As for the aforementioned February 2019 blizzard, it was one to remember in southern Minnesota. Upwards of a foot of snow fell and ferocious winds whipped up massive drifts, burying roadways and stranding hundreds of motorists in their vehicles. Here's the DNR Climate Journal's memory of the "bomb" cyclone.
"The snow and wind led to extraordinary drifting in open areas, with many open-country roads covered with 5 to 8 feet of drifted snow. Images of isolated 15 and 20-drifts flooded social media. The harsh conditions ended up closing virtually all roads in the southern 1/5 of the state. Spunout cars became stranded for over 12 hours across southern and southeastern areas, and Gov. Tim Walz declared a State of Emergency in Freeborn and Steele Counties of south-central Minnesota, where National Guard troops and equipment had to be activated to rescue many of the motorists. The St. Cloud State men's hockey team had to be rescued, and ended up sheltering in the Watonwan County Jail, in St. James, MN. On Sunday, even as the snow subsided, the winds continued gusting up to 50 mph, producing whiteout conditions. Some people who had ventured onto area lakes to go ice fishing became surrounded by snow drifts and were stranded."