Citing whiteout conditions, no travel advised in several Minnesota counties

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Photo credit MnDOT

UPDATE: The Minnesota State Patrol announced Sunday night a total of 165 crashes, 7 semi-truck jackknifes and 404 spin outs on Minnesota roads between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. 20 injuries were also reported. 

UPDATE: The Owatonna National Guard Armory is sheltering 150 people and is full. A second shelter has been established at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna. 

Due to whiteout conditions, several Minnesota counties issued No Travel warnings until visibility improves.

Several counties - including Waseca, Goodhue, Douglas, Blue Earth and Dakota - have warned drivers not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

According to the Waseca County sheriff's office, conditions are "extremely dangerous at this time due to blowing and drifting. Please do NOT travel! We have numerous vehicles stuck in roadways and emergency crews are unable to respond."

By 1 p.m., all roads in Waseca County have been closed. Plows will go out at 5 a.m. Monday.

Olmstead County also declared a State of Emergency and requested National Guard assistance to rescue stranded motorists throughout the county. All drivers should stay in place unless it is an emergency.

Meanwhile, over 100 people are being housed at the Owatonna National Guard Armory after becoming stranded by blizzard conditions.

"They're stuck, they can't get any further," said Bonnie Johnson, the manager of the Owatonna shelter. "The freeway is closed and they have no place else to go." 

According to officials, 30 people were rescued by the Minnesota National Guard Saturday night in southeastern Freeborn County as blizzard conditions battered the area. Freeborn County sheriff's deputies rescued an additional 20.

Additionally, 48 people are sheltered at the Albert Lea armory. Authorities are attempting to rescue more stranded motorists. If you are stranded, please call 911.