Blizzard hammers region

A blizzard hammered Minnesota Wednesday, causing havoc, but bringing plenty of snow just in time for Christmas.

The storm started with light rain that developed into heavy snow as the temperatures dropped and winds picked up around the region.

Brown, Nicollet, and Waseca counties pulled snowplows off the roads by late afternoon due to poor visibility.  Blue Earth County pulled plows as dusk fell.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation shut down several highways, including Highway 60 west of the junction with Highway 169.

A large power outage affected Lake Crystal residents, some of who gathered a the recreation center to keep warm overnight.  BENCO Electric Cooperative warned customers that high winds and galloping power lines would delay the restoration of services.  Outages were also reported in Courtland and Madelia.

The National Weather Service reports five inches of snow fell in North Mankato and Winthrop.

Here are the peak wind gusts NWS recorded from around the region:

Springfield – 55 mph
Fairmont – 61 mph
Hanska – 57 mph
Olivia – 54 mph
New Ulm – 53 mph
Mankato – 53 mph
Waseca – 49 mph.

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