Minnesota News

Lost income, cold horses, full truck stops: How storm is affecting Minnesotans

A man snowblowing a driveway
Charlie Steidl in Edina, Minn. snowblowing on Thursday.
Courtesy of Leah R Anderson Steidl

As the winter storm moves through Minnesota, closing highways and snarling holiday travel plans, Minnesotans continue to push through the wind and cold.

Here are some experiences we’ve heard from Minnesotans around the state.

Stuck at the truck stop

Trucks wait in a parking lot.
Trucks wait for the weather to clear at the Blue Line Junction in Worthington, Minn. on Friday.
Courtesy of Brenda Boje

Brenda Boje, manager at Blue Line Junction in Worthington, said close to 50 trucks were parked in their lot overnight into Friday. All were waiting for roads to reopen.

"They want to get going and you can't go because they can't see because the wind is blowing about 30 to 35 miles an hour and there is nothing out here to stop it," she said.

Boje says most drivers she spoke with are long-haul drivers who were on their way to Minneapolis, Denver and Kansas City. As far as the truck stop itself goes, Boje says deli staff and bakers were not able to make it to work this morning.

— Sarah Thamer

Chosen family sticks together

Living outside is a matter of survival, regardless of what the weather’s like. From brazen summer heat to this week’s subzero temperatures and extreme wind, many communities of tent encampments in Minneapolis rely on one another to get through.

That’s the case for Samira, Eric and Jaylin, three residents at the 80-plus tent city in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood who met living on the streets and have become family. MPR News met the three at the encampment on Thursday and sat down to talk inside of Eric’s tent. They chose not to share their last names for privacy.

“A shelter is a place that you gotta call, wait and probably not have a chance to get into one. My tent is guaranteed. I know I can come back to my tent,” said Samira.

— Grace Birnstengel

Tents and bikes in an encampment, covered with a layer of snow
The outside of Eric's tent in Cedar-Riverside on Thursday. Tents, bikes and other belongings are covered in a fresh layer of snow after a storm earlier in the week.
Grace Birnstengel | MPR News

Frozen out on possible income

Icy roads kept Danielle Harju, a self-employed hair stylist who commutes from Apple Valley to Minneapolis, at home.

Harju says she missed two days of work at a time when customers are getting ready for the holidays.

"Probably around $900,” Harju said, “$800 or $900 for the two days. Because everyone is trying to get in right before."

Harju says she encouraged clients to rebook around the bad weather, but they mostly opted not to. The mother of four children had to trim her budget and pay for groceries with a credit card.

— Todd Melby

Snow drifts are seen across the roads.
Interstate 90 near Lakefield, Minn., early Friday. The freeway was closed to traffic overnight and into the late morning Friday.
Minnesota Department of Transportation

Livestock owners worry about animals

Major winter storms can be brutal and worrisome for Minnesota's livestock owners.

Horse breeder Kari Newman lives in Isanti, about 45 minutes north of the Twin Cities.

She says multiple rounds of snow have been hard on her farm. She has 60 horses and is concerned about losing power.

Person stands outside horse area on snowy cold day
Kari Newman braves the cold for a photo with her horses Friday.
Courtesy of Kari Newman

"The difficult part is that when they're outside making sure they have water. So that means I'm out there, every hour chiseling out their automatic waters to make sure they can still get water. That's one of my biggest fears: having their water be frozen, power going out, that sort of thing."

Newman says they lost power last week for about 24 hours, which makes it difficult to feed, water and protect the horses.

Newman has two barns: One heated, one not heated. She says that their horse are blanketed and staying in the heated barn for the duration of the storm.

— Catharine Richert

Trying to stay warm on the light rail

Two people on a train with a cat
Rebecca Collings on the Green Line with her boyfriend and cat, Steve, on Thursday.
Feven Gerezgiher | MPR News

“I wish for Christmas that every homeless person could be off the streets,” Rebecca Collings said, choking up.

Collings, her boyfriend, and her emotional support animal have been homeless since the truck they were sheltering in was towed.

Speaking to MPR News on Thursday, she said they were staying warm by taking the light rail. The couple planned on grabbing lunch at Catholic Charities’ Dorothy Day Center and possibly visiting a friend. They expected they would return to riding the light rail like usual, with all their belongings in tow.

“There’s not a lot of places for us homeless people to go,” Collings said. “and if we do, homeless people have to stand outside for an hour until they get there to let us in. And then they may or may not have enough beds for the women or for the men.”

She would have been asked to give up her cat anyways, she said.

“I’m not going to put my family apart again. It’s already done that once and I’m not gonna let that happen again,” she said. “I don’t know what else to do. There really isn’t anything out there for us.”

— Feven Gerezgiher

Snow drifts won’t stop the broadcast

Jana Berka works at radio station WTIP in Grand Marais. She says the radio station door was blocked by snow drifts this morning.

"Got the shovel out and tried to break through as best as I could but the wind is pretty strong and you know there were a few times where it was so strong that it like, took my breath away just blowing snow in your face.” Berka said. “So, yeah, it's strong out there.”

Berka says traffic is light but some local businesses are open.

— Dan Gunderson

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How is this winter storm affecting you?

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