By Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. (AP) - Northwestern Minnesota residents rebounded Tuesday from more than a foot a fresh snow that fell during blizzard conditions.

Schools in the Pennington County community of Thief River Falls reopened Tuesday, but ran a couple hours behind. The Minnesota Department of Transportation opened Highway 2 from East Grand Forks to Crookston and Highway 1 from Warren to Oslo after closing the roads Monday because of heavy, blowing snow.

More than 12 inches of fresh snow whipped up by winds of 50 miles per hour made driving treacherous Monday and law enforcement agencies recommended against unnecessary travel.

The National Weather Service said 18 inches of snow fell at Thief River Falls and Warren, 17 inches at Warroad near the Canadian border, 16 inches at Salol in Roseau County and 15 inches at Newfolden in Marshall County.

Residents of Thief River Falls were taking the spring blizzard in stride, said Nancy Johnson, the owner of Biff’s Kitchen at the local VFW post.

“A table of five just came in and said they just got shoveled out,” Johnson said. In a community of about 8,600, neighbors help neighbors dig out after the snow piles up.

“I’ve never seen so much snow in my life,” said Johnson, 45. “Out the back door, it’s like a fort. There’s a trail in the snow.”

Minnesota Department of Transportation officials reported hazardous driving conditions in northwestern counties and difficult conditions for the northern half of the state Tuesday.

While Minnesotans to the north worked to clear the new snow, residents near St. Leo in Yellow Medicine County were cleaning up damage from a tornado that struck Monday afternoon. Sheriff Bill Flaten said in a statement the tornado was reported about 4 p.m. southeast of St. Leo and caused damage to machine sheds, grain bins, outbuildings and homes at three farms. There were no reports of injuries.

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