Ice Storm Hits Western Minnesota

Posted at: 04/10/2013 10:41 PM
Updated at: 04/10/2013 10:45 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- With severe weather expected to move into the area Wednesday night, many people are looking westward for a preview of what’s to come.

And what they’re seeing doesn’t look good.

The storm that hit Worthington, Minnesota, coated the city in a layer of ice that was up to an inch thick in parts, causing trees and power lines to snap and sag under the weight.

“You’re trying to clean up but you can't get underneath the trees because you don't know when they're going to crack,” one resident said. “It's just not safe underneath the trees anymore."

As residents tried to clear their yards of downed branches on Wednesday, their homes remained dark, with thousands still without power.

It's a scenario Austin utility officials hope to avoid.

“Our biggest threat in ice is probably tree limbs coming down," said Mark Nibaur, the general manager of Austin Utilities.

The city has already notified it's tree-trimming contractor to be ready for when the storm hits.

“We want to make sure we can clear that so we can start rebuilding if the ice takes down the lines," Nibaur said.

The city also has contracts with other utility companies to come in and repair power lines if necessary, but until the storm hits, officials will be waiting with fingers crossed.

“Ultimately it's waiting to see what happens and then we react,” Nibaur said.

Governor Mark Dayton called in National Guard troops to help areas already struggling with the effects of the storm, and the Red Cross urges everyone to stay inside and take shelter at home.