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Gov. Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency in the wake of Minnesota’s most recent crippling winter storm, ordering that the Minnesota National Guard deploy to assist stranded travelers.

Emergency Executive Order 14-06 follows requests by the Sheriffs of Renville, Steele and Freeborn Counties for help rescuing and sheltering motorists. The order is effective immediately.

Eight to 17 inches of snow blanketed Minnesota and western Wisconsin, resulting in the Minnesota Department of Transportation to rate Friday’s morning commute “Hazardous,” meaning drivers should stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Southbound Interstate 35 remains closed from Owatonna to Iowa, as does I-90 in both directions between Stewartville and Austin.