MASON CITY | Three kids who had the day off school helped a neighbor dig out from the snow on Wednesday.
Piper Stubbe, 11, invited her friend Gabe Ramirez, 12, over because the power is out at his home in Forest City.
The pair and a neighbor, Lila Sheehan, 9, decided to help shovel out driveways on their street.
“These guys have been so helpful,” Tammy Beavers said, helping them shovel her large driveway on the 900 block of 5th street Southeast.
There was plenty of shoveling to do.
Forecasters say about 14 inches of snow fell in the Mason City area Tuesday and Wednesday.
The seven inches of snow that fell on Tuesday broke the previous record, 4 inches, set in 1949.
National Weather Service meteorologist Rod Donovan said Wednesday's snowfall also might break records.
The current record snow for Wednesday is 6.5 inches. It was set in 1895.
"It’ll be very close," Donovan said.
Beavers began shoveling, by herself, Tuesday night. She continued Wednesday morning.
“I told them (the kids) that my husband had a stroke and they just started helping,” Beavers said.
Her husband suffered a stroke last year and is unable to help dig out.
“He felt so bad seeing me out last night,” Beaver said. “I’m lucky to have the kids.”
Ramirez said it took a little over an hour to clear the driveway of the drifts and snow piles left by the city plows. Stubbe worked on scraping the “sticky snow” of the shoveled drive to prevent it from turning to ice.
“I’ll have to get them some pizza,” Beaver said.
Update: Tree crashes into Mason City garages, vehicle
MASON CITY | Two garages and a car were damaged by a massive tree that toppled over in Mason City under the weight of 13 inches of snow.
It went down in an alley on 10th Street Northwest.
City resident Katie Platt thought she heard something in the middle of the night, but had no idea the entire tree had come down.
It wasn’t even loud enough to make her think to get out of bed.
Her husband found the tree down when he went outside about 7 a.m.
“It couldn’t have been that loud,” she said. For a tree that size to come down and go through two garages and a car, you think it would’ve made more noise.”
It hit the corner of her car, which she thought looked drivable. Her neighbor’s garages weren’t so lucky.
“It took out a corner of one of my neighbors’ garages,” she said. “It put a big hole in another neighbor’s garage.”
It also took down a bunch of telecommunication lines, but appeared to have spared the power lines.
None of the area houses appeared damaged.
Although Platt was initially worried about how the tree was going to get removed, as it was blocking a long section of the alley, a local tree-cutting service, the Cutting Edge, had arrived and was making short work of it, she said.
I’m just grateful that it’s going away,” Platt said.
Update: I-35 improving in North Iowa, but still slippery (with staff and reader photos)
MASON CITY | Sections of Interstate 35 in North Iowa were getting better on Wednesday morning, but troopers urged drivers -- especially those headed north -- to give the plows more time.
Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Dana Knutson said he, four other troopers and some Iowa Department of Transportation officers have been busy all morning.
The group is covering from the Franklin County-Cerro Gordo County line north to the Minnesota border.
“Our guys have been constantly going from one call to the other all morning,” he said.
Most of the crashes have been vehicles losing control on slush and sliding into the median.
A semitrailer went into the median just north of Clear Lake.
Although there is no tow ban in place, Knutson said the plan is to leave the semitrailer there until conditions improve and workers can unload it and get it pulled out of the snow.
As of noon, the freeway was improving south of Highway 9. Areas north of there were still at one lane in each direction.
“It’s still got a pretty good pack of snow on it and there was one lane that wasn’t bad, but the other lane (passing lane) was really unusable,” Knutson said.
He urged drivers to wait and give plows more time to get some salt on the roads and scrape more of the massive snowfall off the roadway, especially the northern areas.
“Give it a little more time if you can, but if you certainly have to be out there give yourself a little bit extra time to slow down,” he said.
Update: Mason City in for more snow, strong winds
11:30 a.m. Update: It isn't over yet.
Even with 13 inches on the ground, snow continued to fall steadily Wednesday morning in Mason City.
National Weather Service forecasters expect 2-4 inches to fall throughout the day.
Snow plows were busy all over the area Wednesday morning but many residents depended on shovels to clear off sidewalks and driveways. Matt Heinselman of
Mason City spent much of the morning shoveling the walk around the Heinselman Insurance property on the 500 block of First Street Northeast.
“I’ve been at it for about six hours, off and on,” he said.
Winds are expected to kick up to 20-25 mph, gusting as high as 35 mph.
This will create additional travel difficulties in the form of blowing snow.
Gusty winds are expected to continue throughout the night.
There's also a 50 percent chance of up to a half an inch of snow late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
Update: 13 inches of snow in North Iowa so far -- and it's still falling
10:30 a.m. Update: North Iowa was hit with 13 inches of snow as of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service with snow still falling.
There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries but roads throughout the area were reported to be slippery and drivers were urged to use caution.
Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals said drivers have been getting stuck and going into ditches due to the slippery conditions.
“It’s been nasty out there,” he said.
However, the Sheriff’s Office has only received five calls requesting motorist assistance since Tuesday night.
Pals said visibility is good right now and the snowplows are getting the center part of all the county roads open.
A spokesman for the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office said there haven’t been any major problems on roads there. He noted Winnebago Industries called off its evening shift Tuesday due to the weather, which reduced traffic.
Heavy snow scrambles North Iowa travel plans
The heavy snow has caused travelers to change their plans. Brian Whitney, guest service manager at the Best Western Holiday Motor Lodge in Clear Lake, said several people pulled off the highway Monday and stayed overnight.
"Some of them took off this morning and then thought better of it and came back," he said.
Mason City residents should stay home if they can, police say
Mason City police had a busy morning.
"From about 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., we had nine motorist assists, four crashes and a few other parking or property damage incidents," said Police Chief Jeff Brinkley.
"Roads are a mess and the sheer volume of snow is making more work for the road crews. We continue to encourage people to stay in and give those crews some time and extra room to try to get caught up," he said.
He added, "It has slowed down a bit. I think people are figuring it's a good day to stay home."
North Iowa neighbors lend a hand after storm drops a foot
Delivery of the Globe Gazette is also impacted.
Storm tops Mason City's big snow totals
Winter's abrupt return to North Iowa was not the largest snow event this winter - at least thus far - according to records by the National Weather Service.
And where this month's figures were dumped almost exclusively in one storm, December's snowfall was steady: snow fell on 17 of the month's 31 days for a total of 14.9 inches. The most was on Dec. 16 - a manageable 3.9 inches.
And for those wishing for spring: last winter's final snow fell on April 8.
Storm drops more than a foot in Mason City
North Iowa remains under a winter storm warning through 6 p.m. Wednesday, after a soggy storm dropped up to a foot of snow in the area.
Main highways in the region were open Wednesday morning, but all were snow-covered, slick and slow-going.
The daytime concern of officials was the wind that was anticipated to increase later Wednesday. Gusts could top 34 mph in the afternoon.
Schools across North Iowa -- including NIACC, Mason City, Newman and Clear Lake -- cancelled classes and closed offices Tuesday night in anticipation of Wednesday's conditions.