Over 600 motorists rescued in southern Minnesota during blizzard

More than 600 motorists were rescued in southern Minnesota during Sunday’s blizzard and the aftermath, the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management said Monday. 

Travel was extremely dangerous amid the snow and strong winds on Sunday, which created whiteout conditions in the area. The Minnesota Guard was called in to assist in some of the rescue efforts.  
The situation appeared the direst in Steele County, where more than 200 had to be rescued, and Freeborn County, where 80 people had to be rescued.

Highway 56 south of Kenyon was also in need of some help as drifts plagued many drivers. In Wanamingo, a city crew worked since before sunrise Monday to clear the streets and guessed they were only half done by the time they started running out of room to dump it all.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people remain in emergency shelters throughout the region. In Steele County, 187 people are being housed at the National Guard Armory in Owatonna and 53 people are staying at Trinity Lutheran Church. Shelters are also set up in Ellendale and Blooming Prairie. In Freeborn County, 46 people are sheltered at the National Guard Armory in Albert Lea. 

Roads are slowly starting to reopen, but many abandoned cars still need to be towed so plows can can get through. 

Interstate 35 was closed from Owatonna to the Iowa border, due to a large amount of snow on the freeway.