Wintery blast blankets Marion County

Staff writer

Classes were canceled for students in all Marion county school districts on Tuesday because of a wintery blast that accumulated approximately nine inches of snowfall by 7:30 p.m.

Accordingly, school districts canceled Tuesday night basketball.

Marion High School’s basketball games at Remington have been postponed until Monday, as well as Peabody-Burns High School’s games at Elyria Christian School.

Goessel’s games versus Little River were postponed until Feb. 13 while Centre’s Tuesday night basketball games were tentatively rescheduled for Feb. 27.

No time has been set for Hillsboro versus Sterling games. Hillsboro also canceled school today, as did Marion, Peabody, Centre, and Goessel.

Tabor College also canceled classes for today.

Marion County Sheriff’s Department said snowfall in most towns had close to nine inches in accumulation except for Durham, which had about 11½ inches.

The county courthouse and other county offices closed at 10 a.m. Tuesday after County Clerk Tina Spencer consulted with Sheriff Rob Craft and the county commission. County offices were also set to be closed today.

“There is a concern about the possibility of significant drifting,” Spencer wrote in an email to county department heads.

Bud Druse with the county road department said that road crews were in “standby for emergency mode” as of Tuesday afternoon.

“If the police, fire department or ambulance need to get anywhere for an emergency we go out and clear those routes to make sure they can get there,” he said.

With wind out of the north-east Druse said that all roads had the potential for a lot of drifting.

“Mother Nature is going to do what she’s going to do,” he said. “With snow sitting we are in big trouble if the wind kicks up.”

Marion city electric superintendent Christian Pedersen said he called Westar on-call line to find out why there were so many lapses in power in Marion on Tuesday and was informed that there was a problem with a capacitor at the power plant.

A number of people were out clearing snow from the sidewalks Tuesday morning on Main St. in Marion.

Merrill Schmidt was getting a jump on shoveling in front of Great Plains Computers because he said it makes shoveling easier later.

At Central National Bank Todd Heidschmidt was operating a snow blower.

“I like it better than the manual way,” Heidschmidt said. “This way is kind of fun.”

City street crew foreman Jeff Harper said that the majority of Marion city workers were also waiting for the snow to stop.

However, some city trucks were keeping routine emergency routes to St. Luke Hospital clear, as well as the main roads leading into and out of town.

Harper said he planned to use a blade attachment that he repurposed from used materials for the city’s new front loader.

“I used an old blade we had laying around and built the frame to fit the loader,” Harper said. “A normal blade puts the snow in a windrow. This is like a bulldozer blade only with sides, so it boxes up the snow in front of the machine.”

Harper said with it snow could then be pushed into intersections for easy removal. The blade can also be detached from inside the cab so the machine operator can hook up other blade attachments.

Postal carrier Ginger Whitney also was out in the elements. She said she is usually comfortable in snow once she gets going, despite walking her whole route.

“I like the snow, but it’s just a lot out here,” she said. “But if you dress warm it’s not bad.”

Whitney said the biggest help comes from homes that shovel walkways for carriers whether it is just the steps or the path where they walk.

“That helps tremendously,” she said.

According to the National Weather Service cold conditions will continue the rest of the week with highs around 8 degrees Fahrenheit. Figuring in wind chill temperatures it will feel below 0. Once the snow ends, it will remain chilly. North winds should pick up and temperatures will dip to about 5 to 0 degrees.

Today, winds should continue but subside a bit in the afternoon. Wind chills will likely be below 0 all day.

Chilly weather will continue on Thursday, Friday, and into Saturday, as will the potential for snow. A storm may bring in light to moderate accumulation on Friday and Saturday.

 

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