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Powerful winds and heavy snow Tuesday night and into Wednesday stranded some drivers in northwest Minnesota, but things were looking up for travelers heading into Thursday.

The region's 45- to 55-mph winds had subsided by Wednesday night. While slush remained on some roads, it hasn't been "anywhere close to blizzard conditions" since early Wednesday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Hasenstein said.

"It's looking like it's going to be a pretty good next few days for traveling," Hasenstein said, adding that winds dropped to 5 to 10 mph Wednesday night.

The heaviest snowfall reported ranged from 2 to 3 inches in some areas of Stevens County, he said.

Interstate 94 between Fergus Falls and Moorhead reopened at noon Wednesday after it was shut down by a blizzard Tuesday night.

Whiteout conditions fueled by strong winds stranded several motorists a few miles east of Moorhead on Tuesday night, said Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol.

Tow trucks had to remove vehicles from the road and ditches before some routes could be reopened Wednesday afternoon, he said.

"There's still some scattered slippery spots throughout the regions of northwestern and west-central Minnesota, but it's definitely improved in the last 24 hours," Grabow said.

Grabow reminded travelers to prepare for hazardous weather conditions by bringing along winter survival kits and filling up with gas when their tanks are close to half-full.

Gov. Tim Walz deployed the National Guard to Clay County to assist motorists and residents affected by heavy snow and persistent strong winds.


At the height of the storm, the Minnesota Department of Transportation also advised motorists to stay off the roads across 12 southwestern counties where falling and blowing snow were creating near-zero visibility. The advisories were lifted Wednesday morning.

A blizzard warning expired at 10 a.m. for an area from Grand Forks, N.D., to south of Morris, Minn., the National Weather Service said.

Meanwhile, in the Twin Cities, temperatures above freezing had roads primarily wet during the morning commute, and temperatures began rapidly dropping, getting down to 22 degrees by 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The metro area set a daily record for Feb. 14 by picking up .68 inches of rain, the Weather Service said.


Behind the cold front, high temperatures Thursday and Friday will be in the upper teens and low 20s, but will moderate into the 30s by Saturday, the Weather Service said.