Despite the weather, locals pitch in to help those in need.

Never trust a groundhog. Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticating weather predictor from Pennsylvania proved yet again he doesn’t know a thing about meteorology. The rodent supposedly didn’t see his shadow earlier this month — a sign that we’re in for an early spring.

But after a massive snow storm hammered much of north Iowa and the Midwest last weekend, we’ll be lucky to see all this white fluff melt in time for the Memorial Day parade.

Interstate 35 was closed late Saturday and well into Monday, as was just about every road in our region. The snow was so deep that even snow plows were running out of gas or getting stuck.

Several motorists got stranded during the storm. On Tuesday, nearly 40 vehicles could be seen lodged in the ditch along I-35 between Ames and Ankeny.

Even around here, vehicles were stuck and the good-spirited citizens of Mitchell and Worth Counties  braved the storm to try and help out.

The Worth County  Sheriff’s office came up with a creative solution to help out.

“With the roads being impassible by vehicle and plows unable to make headway a different means of transportation was being utilized to bring the motorist to safety,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a release. “Snowmobiles and UTV with tracks were called upon to maneuver down the roads and rescue travelers who had for many spent the night in their vehicles.

Some members of the Worth County Fence Stretcher’s snowmobile club hopped on their sleds, and bounced across the snow-covered highways to rescue the stranded travelers, bringing them to places to stay like Diamond Jo Casino.

My grandparents were on the road from Oregon to Michigan and pulled off at Diamond Jo for the night and got a room. My…

Posted by Rindy Johnson on Sunday, February 24, 2019

“The Worth County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all of the members of the Worth County Fence Stretchers and the members of the volunteer fire departments [through] out the county for braving the elements to respond to any and all of these calls to help the stranded, injured, and any other reason that the residents of Worth County along with those traveling through could be brought to safety.”

Even some folks here in St. Ansgar stepped in to help out hapless travelers last weekend.

A mother from Zimbabwe, a country in southern Africa, and two of her daughters got caught in the snow on Highway 218, and a couple of St. Ansgar citizens and business owners pitched in to shelter and feed the threesome.

The mother had flown in to visit one of her daughters who goes to college at Wartburg.

They were headed from the airport when they got caught in the storm, and sat stuck for somewhere around 15 hours before Sheriff Greg Beaver was able to pluck them out and bring them into town, where they were dropped off at the church, Beverly Beaver said.

However, the church didn’t have showers or very good sleeping arrangements, so the Blue Belle Inn magnanimously opened up their doors to the trio, where they were able to stay and wait for the storm to abate.

Submitted photo.

City Limits pitched in, donating three lunches to them, and Casey’s General Store followed suit by donating some sandwiches for another meal.

The girls were finally able to get back on the road on Tuesday, and were thankful for the hospitality.

For all those that lent a hand, helping out is just how we like to do things around here.

For the ladies from Zimbabwe and the folks who had to hang on for dear life on the back of a snowmobile, its a weekend they’ll never forge

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