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Rare May storm socks SE Minn.; 13 inches in Owatonna

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A bizarre May snowstorm pelted southeast Minnesota overnight, leaving at least 15,000 without power and some schools closed. The Minnesota Department of Transportation advised no travel in 10 counties, KTTC reported.

Most residents in the Twin Cities did not see a single flake, as the storm hit south and east of the metro, but Owatonna just an hour south got 13 inches of snow. The record for one-day snowfall in May in Owatonna is 1.2 inches (May 5, 1944), KAAL reported.

More than a foot of snow was reported in Vasa, Minn., about an hour southeast of the Twin Cities. Geneva, Minn., got 14 inches, a WCCO weather watcher reported.

Interstate 35 near Owatonna reopened after being closed for travel early Thursday, KAAL reported. The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported travel in that area is still hazardous. Highway 52 northbound was closed at Goodhue County Road 7 due to a crash, KAAL reported.

Rochester, Albert Lea, Northfield and Red Wing public schools were closed, among the more than 50 Minnesota schools and districts that were closed or delayed Thursday.

Utility crews scrambled to restore power to more than 15,000 Xcel Energy customers, the Associated Press reported. (Although Xcel Energy's outage map early Thursday morning showed a few scattered outages in the band of the storm.)

The storm was unusual in how it dumped heavy snow in some areas and left others just a half hour away untouched. MPR's veteran forecaster Paul Huttner said he has never seen a storm quite like this one, with such a narrow band of heavy snow, especially in May. From his Updraft blog:

Radar from about 6:15 a.m. Thursday:

Vasa, Minn.:

WCCO early Thursday had video from Hudson, Wis., where heavy wet snow was falling:

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