Thousands Of Cars Towed, Power Slowly Restored

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota got a winter wakeup call this weekend with many areas in the Twin Cities reporting up to a foot of snow.

One of the biggest problems from the storm: power outages. The heavy, wet snowfall knocked down lots of trees and power lines.

Xcel Energy said by the end of the day Monday, they will have restored power to well over 200,000 customers.

Nick Dragisch and his family live in West Lakeland Township where they need electricity to operate their well for water. This could be their second night in the dark.

“We have the fireplace going for some heat, so we’re not freezing, but all of our food in our freezer and refrigerator are spoiling and melting,” said Dragisch. “And we don’t have any water to function. And so what we end up doing, is once we’ve drawn water down, you have to bring in a bucket of snow and let it melt and dump it in the back of the toilet.”

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, Xcel Energy reported just over 12,000 still without power.

“Our guys would get one outage complete and getting to the next outage, if anyone was driving yesterday, you go through the side streets, the roads, sometimes were unpassable,” said Tom Hoen, Xcel Energy spokesperson. “So it’s not so much getting to the job, where it was it took so long to get there. And then you add in the fact that you have such a high number of jobs that we still have to deal with, that’s why we have such an extended outage.”

Meanwhile, snow emergencies in both Minneapolis and St. Paul means cars towed from local roads all night.

The Minneapolis Impound Lot said they had longs lines of tow trucks carrying in vehicles. On Sunday, 648 vehicles were towed in Minneapolis and on Saturday, 399 vehicles were towed, according to Matt Laible with the City of Minneapolis’ communications department.

It costs $138 for people to get their car out, plus a ticket. And that has many towed car owners upset.

“We come to this city to visit our son. Last night our vehicle was still there at 11 p.m. because we walked home from one of the restaurants. We get up at this morning at 5 (a.m.) to leave to go home to good ol’ North Dakota and no vehicle,” said Carrie Peterson, who had a car towed.

Click here to see if the city you live in has declared a snow emergency.

Sunday is the second day of the Minneapolis snow emergency which means there is no parking on the even side of the street and neither side of parkways.

Snow emergency rules remain in effect until 8 p.m. Sunday, unless that side of the street is already plowed. If they do, the city might tow their vehicle.

The National Weather Service reports nearly 8 inches of snow fell at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport by 6 a.m. Sunday.

There’s a chance of flurries in the Twin Cities later Sunday, but forecasters don’t expect more than an inch.

Click here to see a photo gallery of this winter storm.

  • Curt

    …and yet the city still towed people who had no way of knowing a snow emergency had been declared.

  • Wendi

    Seriously, with this much snow, can anyone really think that there would NOT be a snow emergency? Some common sense would be helpful.

    • Paul

      Stick to what you know, square hamburgers

    • Todd

      Actually, yes I can. I ahve lived in the metro for over 35 years and with how fast this snow melted I am suprised that Minneapolis did declare a snow emergency. They are very inconsistent on what qualifies for a snow emergency or doing anything about it when it does snow. A couple years ago there was a snow emergency during Christmas and people got towed and cried about it. Last year we had another christmas storm and they did nothing for days when it was still plowable and then it got so cold and flroze solid that there was nothing that could be done except declare snow parking restrictions. Minneapolis needs to be more consistent. Oh well. I’m sure this will come up again when they enforce parking restirctions again for their inactions.

  • Mike

    No way of knowing? Bull-friggin-shiite. I get sick and tired of this every single time it snows… ‘I didn’t know! Waaaa!’ It’s very simple. It snowed. A lot. Chances are there might be a snow emergency declared. Call, go online, look in the paper, ask your neighbor, sign up for automated alerts, or if nothing else, just to be safe, move your car. Do these people want a singing telegram? Telepathic notification?

    We’re adults. Take the damn responsibility to find out.

    • csuzeq

      Without power, most of those ways of checking involve having power! And if you are without power, most likely so is your neighbor. I do realize that people should always assume there will be a snow emergency, but the Government alos needs to realize they should give it some time when there is a power outage. They could have done a basic middle of the road plowing until the power is back on for all folks!

  • Mike

    If my power goes out, my cell phone still works. So does my home phone, even. Most people have cell phones, and most of them are capable of e-mail and going online. And my paper still gets delivered.

    The city doesn’t necessarily know who has power and who doesn’t. And there’s too much red tape in government already without having to have the public works coordinate with the power companies to make sure they only plow the streets that have power.

    If they waited till the power was back on for all folks, twice as many people would be complaining because the city is taking their time getting the streets cleared, just because some neighborhood on the other side of town doesn’t have power. Not to mention, there’s a reason why they don’t just plow the middle of the streets – because it’s much more efficient and cost effective to do the whole street at once.

    • Amy

      Sorry, but not everyone can afford a cell phone capable of internet and email. Although we all know there are outlets to know about a snow emergency, we checked almost all of them including, WCCO website, city of Minneapolis website and Star Tribune website and we were watching a local television station before we left our house and did not hear or see any alerts. We are well aware of the fact that when it snows a lot a snow emergency may be declared, but this time we had company, we couldn’t all fit our cars in the driveway and we checked to see if we needed to move our cars blocks away or if we could just leave them in front of our house…since we didn’t see any alerts by 10:30PM we assumed we were ok. You don’t have to be so snide about this situation, we aren’t asking for sympathy, just for them to have utlilized more of the available outlets for alerts.

      • bjorn

        why wait to be told…call the snow emergency hotline…easy it tells you if there is one or not. I new by early evening that there had been one called in both st paul AND minneapolis by calling

  • Snow

    Without power all common sense seems to disappear. 10 inches of snow and you’re questioning a snow emergency? You deserve to be ticketed and towed.

  • Amy Parker

    I am not asking for a “singing telegram” all I would like is for alerts on websites and television programs meant for people who are not signed up for email alerts and text message alerts…had there been an alert on one of the local news websites, my car would not have gotten towed. So congratulations on being so prepared, but I did not watch the 10 o-clock news on a Saturday night while friends from out of town were visiting so I checked multiple websites to see if we needed to move our car at 10:30 when we left our house and there was nothing there to let me know there was a snow emergency declared.

  • Jess

    There *were* alerts on television that were not the 10pm news. I’m sympathetic to a point but as one person pointed out: at 10 inches of snow, use your common sense.

  • Elizabeth

    um aren’t the snow routes posted on street signs all over the place? When I lived in St. Paul AND Minneapoilis there were signs posted everywhere.. and if you move to a city you should take it upon yourself to check out when a snow emergency could occur. Usually it’s over so many inches of snow… ingorance is not an excuse.

  • Annoyed

    A couple of years ago the City of Mpls said, via one of the news media channels, that the “general rule of thumb” is if it snows more than 3 inches there is a very good possibility that there will be a snow emergency posted. What is probably more annoying this year is the City of Mpls changed the ease of using their website which used to be as easy as clicking the Snow Emergency icon located here ( You now have to go one more link deeper and use this link ( I did send them an email because they should not have changed it.

    • bjorn

      wow…so difficult to click one page further…all you have to do is call one number and it will tell you…grow up and take responsibility

  • Joe

    Cars were towed? Could have fooled me. I live on a snow emergency route and NOT ONE CAR left on the street overnight was towed. None were ticketed. Plows had to go around, leaving huge piles on snow for my to clear in front of my house. Luckily it’s melting now, but I have to do this every freaking year, and it seems I have an early start this time around.

    • Mark

      I live on Xerxes and saw the same thing. Now it looks awful with all the cars the plows simply went around. No tickets or tows. I feel bad for people who get towed but its in the best interest of everyone to have the street clean. Nearly every city as some sort of snow restriction in the midwest. I grew up in a town of 800 and we knew downtown (all blocks) were off limits.

  • Sarah

    Ok, so did half the city just move here if they don’t know this??? That would be the only excuse in my eyes….ignorance is not bliss it just means a big ticket and no car!!! Use your head people-it’s Minnesota not Florida!!

  • Marj Wyatt

    And reading about this makes me glad that I left Minneapolis and moved to San Diego! :)

  • Chopswell

    It really does make sense to be FULLY AWARE of the law, ESPECIALLY if you park on a street. With government budgets declining, you can better believe they have the plans in place to CAPITALIZE on this income-winning situation. Ignorance = PAY UP! Those who aren’t idiots aren’t fined an “IDIOT TAX!” Period.

  • Ruth

    Even people from ND must know that when a lot of snow falls, snow emergencies are declared. Ignorance is no excuse. People who park on the street, whether or not it is a snow emergency route, take their chances getting towed. You live here, you deal with it and don’t complain when your vehicle gets towed.

  • Txuj



  • mark

    Cities in North Dakota also have parking restrictions during snow storms. This isn’t just a Minneapolis thing!

  • Dean

    More than 3 inches of snow – move your car!!!! Going out of town when there’s even a CHANCE of snow – give your keys to your neighbor!!!! Visiting town – ask why you’re one of only a few cars parked in front of a restuarant when the place is full!!! After ending up last spring with barely a bike-lane for cars to pass through on the city streets I, for one, think we should have had even more truck-drivers out there towing cars. Seriously people, do you want a custom invitation that tells you to move your cars???? Ignorance may be bliss but, then you get to go to the impound lot and pay your fine.

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