Franklin County Still Digging Out After Weekend Blizzard

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HAMPTON, Iowa — The blizzard ended Sunday night, but on Tuesday Franklin County was still dealing with the effects of the storm. Highway 65 was still in the “travel not recommended” rating by the Iowa DOT.

At the Gold Key Motel on Highway 65, a 15-foot tall snow drift draped over the top of the building.

“The snow drift was so high, it’s plugging off the chimney for the boilers ’cause it’s higher than actually the roof of the building,” said Mathis. “We’ve had to tunnel down four feet through the banks and put on a temporary extension over the chimney to stick out.”

Mathis said he was kept plenty busy by stranded travelers during the storm.

“I was clear full. I could have doubled up my rooms. I could have rented twice as many rooms we had. So many stranded,” said Mathis. “I was pulling them out [and] hauling people around for food. I was feeding people.”

A few miles north of Hampton, Kyle Miller of Sheffield went into the ditch on Highway 65, while going home from work.

“[It was] an hour and a half until one of the Franklin County sheriffs picked me up. [I] somehow managed to get back to Sheffield,” said Miller. “He was doing about 20 miles an hour. He knows the roads better than anybody. We made it back about 12:30 in the morning.”

Miller’s car was buried, and he said wreckers told him it would be a couple of days yet before they could pull his car out of the ditch.

At KQCR-KLMJ Radio in Hampton, Mark Freie has been busy the past few days covering the storm for the stations.

“We’ve had plenty of snow storms this winter. This was just a lead in to the big one,” said Freie. “I haven’t experienced anything like it, just seeing cars just stuck in the middle of the road.”

Highway 65 runs right in front of the radio station. During a taped interview on Tuesday, an Iowa DOT representative told Freie that crews were trying to scrape the ice from the road.


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