First responders in blizzard conditions

cars in ditches after blizzard conditions

KIMT News 3 - As many people shoveled their way out of their driveways this morning and headed to work, trying to avoid drifting snow on the roads, first responders and state patrol officials were dealing with the dangerous conditions throughout the night on Sunday.

“I talked to a couple of people who were broken down earlier and a couple of troopers and they said it was pretty much a white out,” said Iowa State Patrol Trooper Graham Palas.

Palas was just one of the many officials out digging cars out of ditches today.

In Floyd County, the Sheriff’s Office says more than 20 vehicles and 3 semis ended up getting stuck in the snow and on Hwy 65, a Franklin County ambulance went into the ditch after bringing patients to Mercy Medical Center North Iowa.

One Sheriff’s Deputy said that while they moved as quickly as they could to get to the scene, it was tough to get to the accident because of the harsh conditions.

“It took some time to get to them, but we were able to get to them and bring them back to Mercy to stay warm and get them on the way.”

On top of the ambulance heading into the snowy ditch, just down the road there was a stranded car and health officials said they, “came across the person that went into the ditch and instead of staying in their vehicle, they decided to try and walk for help and were found laying in the ditch.”

Another tricky task first responders had to deal with was getting to the scene of a house fire in rural Kensett.

The blaze started in the middle of Sunday’s blizzard, and ended up destroying the home.

One woman was injured in the incident and rescuers say the weather conditions played a role in their delayed response time.

Many people have said they’re trying to remember the last time the Midwest endured a winter this cold and according to Iowa State Climatologist, Harry Hillaker, they would have to dig pretty far into their memories.

Hillaker is attributing this chilly band of weather to a ridge of high pressure coming from the west.

Officials say that the nice days we occasionally see are just breaks in the consistent high pressure system patterns, but that there is light at the end of this chilly tunnel.

January 15th is considered the mid-point of the winter season, and seeing as we just passed that date two weeks ago, it’s safe to say that we’re half way there.

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