Surprising storm drops foot of snow on area
About a foot of heavy snow fell on Clear Lake in a storm that arrived Sunday afternoon and persisted through the night.
The Clear Lake Police Department reported no major accidents locally, but was kept busy helping motorists out of the snow.
According to the National Weather Service, it was a record-breaking 24-hour snowfall.
Ventura Elementary and Garner-Hayfield/Ventura Middle School and High School classes were called off. Clear Lake students were already home-- or somewhere warmer-- because the school district began its week-long Spring Break Monday.
A winter storm warning had been in effect from mid-day Sunday until Monday morning. Forecasters said the rate of falling snow exceeded one-inch per hour in some spots Sunday night.
KIMT Meterologist Adam Frederick reported the band of snow left varying amounts through North Iowa. Mason City officially had 13.5-inches of snow. To the west, Britt measured seven-inches of snowfall. To the north, there was a report of 10-inches of snow in Lake Mills.
The National Weather Service said Mason City set a record for 24-hour snowfall for the date of March 11 with seven-and-a-half inches, breaking the old record of 4.9 inches set in 1951.
Once the warmer temperatures arrive, the region also should be prepared for high water. Northern Iowa and southern Minnesota have what’s called “concrete frost,” where frozen rain disallows any melted snow from soaking into the ground. Where there is concrete frost, melting snow is going to move quickly to waterways, creating a risk of flood conditions.
Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-30s late this week.
Another round of rain and snow is a possibility for Sunday and Monday, according to Accuweather.