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Updated, 9:41 a.m., Dec. 24–Christmas storm brings host of changes; Watch for updates

Newest updates within the last half-hour–Windom Street Department to hit the streets very shortly and Cottonwood County issues warning about county roads.

The 2022 Christmas storm continues to rage on, causing major travel issues and closing multiple businesses and governmental offices. As we receive information on these closures and other reports, readers can find updates here at www.windomnews.com.

This page mainly includes reports received today, pertaining to Dec. 24 and the weekend.

For a more detailed report, complete with quotes, storm stories, etc., check out the Dec. 28 edition of the County Citizen and Citizen eEdition.

• Reported Dec. 24 at 9:41 a.m.: Moments ago, Windom Street Superintendent Jon Ketzenberg reported that snowplows will begin clearing streets throughout Windom within the next few minutes. The plan, according to Ketzenberg, is to clear snow throughout the community today making every street as clear as possible, wrapping up the project around noon, or early afternoon.

“It is supposed to calm down this afternoon,” Ketzenberg said. “We will get most of the town done today, so we can get most of tomorrow off. Most of the town looks halfway decent, except where there are a few drifted areas (mostly at the edges of the city).”

Ketzenberg and the street department staff urge people to get their vehicles off local streets and alleys as soon as possible so that they can do a good job of clearing those areas without vehicles getting in the way. The absence of parked cars makes their job significantly easier and less time-consuming on the Christmas holiday.

• Reported Dec. 24 at 9:38 a.m.: Cottonwood County officials issued this Public Safety Alert to all residents: “Cottonwood County is advising no travel. Roads are impassable. Plows are working to open the roads, so have patience. Do not travel.”

• Reported Dec. 24 at 6:24 a.m.: Citizen Online has received multiple reports of vehicles that were either stranded, or towed from road ditches in the past couple of days. There have also been reports of snow plows assisting in the rescues of stranded motorists in Cottonwood County and other area counties. The Governor’s office reported that Renville County sought (and received) assistance from the Minnesota National Guard for a rescue operation involving stranded motorists.

Paul Johnson, Emergency Management Director for Cottonwood County offered this message to the public: “We are pleading with the public to stay home!”

• Reported Dec. 23 at 1:48 p.m.: Officials from Bank Midwest have reported that the bank will be closing at 2 p.m. today. There have been reports of other local businesses being closed for the day, or closed early (see below), including Citizen Publishing Co. (closed for the day) and River Bend Liquor (closing at 4 p.m.). Several businesses did not open today, due to the storm, but a few businesses along the highway and on the Square remain open despite the weather.

• Reported Dec. 23 at 1:30 p.m.: Cottonwood County officials reported a short time ago that Cottonwood County plows have been pulled off the roads. County officials also passed along this message to all area residents and motorists: “Visibility is zero, roadways are blocked and temperatures are life-threatening. Stay home!”

• Reported Dec. 23 at 9:50 a.m.: River Bend Liquor will open at 10 a.m. today (Friday), as usual, according to Manager John Nelson. However, the store will be closing at 4 p.m. today, due to the area road conditions and weather/safety concerns. Current plans are for the store to re-open Saturday at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. for Christmas Eve.

Many other local businesses, have either closed, or will be closing early. Citizen Publishing Co. offices are closed for the day and will also be closed on Monday. Due to the weather, there will be delays in delivery of this weekend’s Windom Shopper.

• Reported Dec. 23 at 9:05 a.m.: Windom Street Department crews spent the morning addressing drifts and “problem areas,” according to Windom Street Superintendent Jon Ketzenberg. He added that it was not a situation where all of the city streets were plowed, but rather just the drifted areas, where vehicles can’t get through. Ketzenberg said most of that work is finished for the morning, but added that “It is nasty out there and people are advised not to travel. If you should have car trouble or something, with this cold and wind, it would be very dangerous.”  Ketzenberg said the plan is to continue to monitor the situation and eventually plow the entire community once the wind speeds drop. The problem is, that may not occur until sometime Saturday, or Saturday night. He said no Snow Emergency was declared last night, partly because streets were in fairly good shape, except for the edges of town where snow blows in from the fields. Drifting is the biggest concern. Ketzenberg said in some places, such as North Windom Industrial Park, streets drifted in just minutes after they were plowed. Two cars were found in the ditch on Sixth Street on the south side of Windom, just beyond Remick Ridge Estates and Reinbows.

Watch windomnews.com for updates on snow plowing and any declaration of a Snow Emergency. Until then, Ketzenberg advises no travel and asks that people avoid parking on alleys, or in streets.

• Reported Dec. 23 at 8:55 a.m.: Windom city offices are closed. The closure is part of a planned Christmas holiday break that was scheduled prior to this week’s storm. Officers were expected to be closed today and Monday.

• Reported Dec. 23 at 8:55 a.m.: Windom Schools are closed today. The closure was part of a planned Christmas holiday break that was scheduled prior to this week’s storm. Yesterday was a Virtual Learning Day. “We haved used all of our E-Learning Days,” Superintendent Jamie Frank said this morning. Referring to future possible snow-related make-up days, Frank added: “We will be getting creative from here on out.”

• Reported Dec. 23 at 8:45 a.m.: Citizen Online has learned that sometime last night, MnDOT pulled its plows off the roads and closed Highways 60 and 71, likely due to excessive drifting. The crossarms are currently down blocking traffic from accessing either highway out of Windom.

• Reported Dec. 23 at 6:30 a.m.: Cottonwood County offices and Des Moines Valley Health & Human Services will be closed for the day.

The latest local weather update by NEXT WEATHER, lists the local Windom area temperature at minus-5 degrees with partly cloudy skies. The wind speed is listed at 22 mph and “feels like” is minus-29 degrees. Motorists are reporting that there are still drifts of 6 to 8 feet blocking county road traffic around Windom. County officials pulled snow plows off the roads yesterday, due to ongoing drifting and visibility issues. No travel is advised.

Watch www.windomnews.com for regular weekday updates at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., plus BREAKING stories at other times. Follow CoCoCitizen @CitPub on Twitter.

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