No travel advised in most of southwestern, west central Minnesota

UPDATE: I-94 between Moorhead and Osakis is closed until conditions improve, according to MnDOT. 

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is advising no travel in southwestern and west central Minnesota because ice, blowing and drifting snow and reduced visibility are creating hazardous driving conditions. 

Between 5 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the Minnesota State Patrol responded to 150 crashes, 10 with injuries, and 286 spinouts statewide. In Bloomington, a car went off Interstate 494 near U.S. Highway 169 and into a holding pond. The driver had to be rescued. 

There were also 31 jackknifed semis reported during the same period, and several more since. 

“Troopers are responding to more jackknifed semis than I can remember, most of which the trailers are empty or light loads,” Sgt. Jesse Grabow said on Twitter Thursday afternoon. With the wind and road conditions, it’s not going well, so please use some good discretion.” 

Several jackknifed semis and semi crashes closed Interstate 94 in both directions between Clearwater and St. Augusta south of St. Cloud for nearly an hour. Jackknifed semis also closed several highways in the metro during the morning commute. 

Strong wind gusts have also snapped or downed power lines across much of southwestern Minnesota. Many highways are closed until the power lines can be repaired. 

If you have to travel, the State Patrol is advising drivers to slow down, pay attention, increase your following distance and buckle. Drivers are also reminded to move over or slow way down when you see flashing lights. 

The volume of crashes means if you do go into the ditch, it may be awhile before help arrives. State Patrol also recommends keeping an emergency kit in your car to keep you safe and comfortable. 

A no travel advisory is in effect for state and federal highways in the following counties: 

Southwestern Minnesota 

  • Western and southern portions of Chippewa County
  • Kandiyohi County – east and south of Blomkest
  • Lac qui Parle County
  • Lincoln County
  • Lyon County
  • Several highways in Meeker County
  • McLeod County
  • Murray County
  • Pipestone County
  • Redwood County
  • Renville County
  • Yellow Medicine County

West central Minnesota 

  • Becker
  • Clay
  • Douglas
  • Grant
  • Mahnomen
  • Otter Tail
  • portions of Wilkin 

Some travel advisories have been lifted in west central Minnesota, too.

  • Big Stone
  • Pope
  • Stevens
  • Swift
  • Traverse
  • portions of Wilkin

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