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Storm drops heavy blanket of snow throughout Midwest

A record-setting May snowstorm today stunned upper Midwest residents still reeling from a cold, snowy spring.

May Snow Day
A tree downed by heavy snow rests atop a care Thursday, May 2, 2013, after a rare May snow dropped nearly 16 inches of snow in Owatonna, Minn. Owatonna was one of dozens of school districts in Minnesota and Wisconsin that canceled classes. (AP Photo/Owatonna People's Press, Al Strain)

A record-setting May snowstorm Thursday stunned upper Midwest residents still reeling from a cold, snowy spring.

The storm dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, with some of the highest totals in southeastern Minnesota. Besides closing schools and snarling traffic, the storm is expected to further delay the planting season for farmers and raises flooding concerns.

In Northwestern Wisconsin, students enjoyed another snow day Thursday. Menomonie, River Falls, Chetek, Rice Lake, Barron and Durand are among school districts that canceled classes.

The National Weather Service reported 14 inches of snow has fallen in Ellsworth, Wis., with 9 inches in River Falls and 8 inches in Ashland, Wis. Utility crews worked to restore power to hundreds of Xcel customers in the region.

Weather spotters in the Hayward, Wis., area reported 8 to 11 inches of snow early this morning, with snow continuing to fall. Hayward schools are closed today, as is the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College.


There was a sharp cut-off in snowfall to the west of that, with 2 inches of snow reported at Solon Springs, and none in Duluth.

Early today, two semis collided on Interstate 94 in Dunn County, Wis., killing one driver and injuring the other. The State Patrol said it was not immediately known if the weather was a factor in the crash.

Meanwhile, the storm has slathered a heavy icing of slushy snow on parts of eastern Nebraska and western and north-central Iowa.

This morning, more than 6 inches has been recorded in isolated parts of Iowa, including Harrison County near Omaha, Neb., and along the Minnesota border in northern Iowa.Nebraska totals are generally lower.

National Weather Service meteorologist Josh Boustead called the May storm "really, really unusual."

He says that in Omaha, for example, measurable snow has fallen only four times since 1884.

The storm is moving east and is expected to lay a wet blanket on Des Moines later today.

The storm is expected to further delay a planting season that's already several weeks behind because or wet, cold weather.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture, as of April 28, 2013, only 5 percent of the national corn crop had been planted. Average for this date is around 31 percent. Last year about 50 percent of the national corn crop was planted.

The storm also raises flooding concerns in some areas, as the continuing rain, and the melt from this snow, is expected to lead to rising rivers in a spring that's already been extremely rainy.

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