Storm leads to difficult travel across the Northland

Body: 

Brady Slater

bslater@duluthnews.com

An early winter storm made an impact in Duluth today.

 Road conditions quickly devolved to near-impassable as downtown avenues picked up a coating of snow and ice. Cars were stalled at angles heading down Lake Avenue — not necessarily crashed, but with the drivers not sure how to proceed.

Even the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was amid the chaos, first struggling to climb Lake Avenue and later spotted parked on a nearby street.

Back along the shore of Lake Superior, the first storm of winter 2017-18 also proved memorable as guests at the Hampton Inn reported being awakened by the crashing sound of waves as early as 2 a.m. for a lake assault that went on for hours and long into the morning.

The waves came in long and tall rows, hunting one another to the shoreline. The snow was wet and heavy and came fast on the wind.

Alrea Siler, kitchen employee at Hampton Inn since 2004, marveled alongside with the guests.

"I've never see that happen before. I've never seen rocks blown around like that," said Siler, noting the riprap and other rocks, logs and debris strewn about hotel lawns by the waves.

Hwy. 2 in Ashland closed

In Wisconsin, gale force winds on Lake Superior caused waves to crash across a major roadway, causing impassable flooding along the bayfront in Ashland early Friday.

All four lanes and both directions of U.S. Highway 2 were shut down because of "flooding over the roadway," said a Wisconsin State Patrol bulletin.

The Ashland County Sheriff's Office was the first to close the highway as waves from Chequamegon Bay splashed over what is normally a picturesque section of roadway.

The road was shut down before sunrise for a 1-mile stretch between State Highway 13 North and Sanborn Avenue at the western edge of downtown Ashland, the State Patrol said.

The State Patrol estimated the lanes would be blocked for two hours or until the storm died down. Deputies rerouted traffic along a parallel route to the south of Highway 2, State Highway 137. The closed section of road traverses a county line — Bayfield County to the west and Ashland County to the east.

Andrew Krueger of the News Tribune staff contributed to this report.