Dozens of highways across southwestern and south-central Minnesota were under advisories warning people not to travel on Friday night, after they had been temporarily closed and reopened earlier due to snow-covered roads and whiteout conditions.
As of Friday night, more than a dozen highways in southwest Minnesota had no-travel advisories, and many other roads were issued warnings by the Minnesota Department of Transportation due to being completely covered in ice.
South-central Minnesota highways were in better condition Friday evening, with most roads showing either "normal" conditions or "partially covered," according to roads condition website Minnesota 511.
The icy conditions had closed many of the highways in those areas from around 8:30 p.m. Thursday into the next morning, when they reopened.
Interstate 90 from Fairmont west to the South Dakota border was back open, but Hwy. 71 from Walnut Grove to Windom remained closed.
MnDOT closed more than 30 highways in an area south and west of a line from Granite Falls to Redwood Falls to New Ulm Thursday night due to the adverse conditions, which resulted from snow and strong winds that reduced visibility to less than a tenth of a mile.
"Plows are out in full force clearing roads as quickly as possible, but cleanup is going to take some time," the agency said Thursday night. "Stranded vehicles, snow and ice are making it difficult."
In Monticello, where there was not a travel advisory, a jackknifed semi had all lanes of westbound Interstate 94 blocked at milepost 187, which is west of Hwy. 25, MnDOT said at 7 a.m. Friday. The incident cleared at 7:30 a.m., but slick conditions remained.
A winter weather advisory posted due to the blowing snow and winds gusting as high as 40 mph also expired, the National Weather Service said.
But travel was still difficult.
"Gusty northwest winds will continue through Friday, which will result in continued issues with blowing and drifting snow in western Minnesota," the Weather Service said.
Treacherous conditions resulting from rain that turned to snow Thursday led to 125 crashes statewide between 4:30 and 9:30 p.m., the State Patrol said. One person died in a crash on Hwy. 10 in Ramsey, the patrol said.
More than 100 vehicles spun out on slick roads and troopers responded to 25 jackknifed semis, the patrol said.
Some of the most snow fell in Stearns County, where 5 inches was reported, the Weather Service said.
Flurries swept across central Minnesota north of the I-94 corridor by afternoon and evening, but did not accumulate to any measurable amount, the Weather Service said.
"It's non-accumulating so far, so mainly just flurries with light ground covering so far," the weather service added.
"Most snow showers will be brief, but they could reduce visibility and drop light accumulations," the agency added.
A bone-chilling cold weekend by March standards is on tap for the weekend, but more spring-like conditions are expected by midweek. Highs Friday in the metro area will be in the teens, with windchill readings in the single digits below zero.
By Sunday, highs will moderate into the low 30s, with 40s expected Monday through Thursday, the Weather Service said.