Minnesotans awoke Sunday to persistently hazardous driving conditions on highways across much of the southern third of the state after heavy snow fell over a two-day stretch and was joined by strong winds.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation was reporting highways completely covered with ice and drifting snow spanning the width of southern Minnesota to the southern Twin Cities area and north almost to St. Cloud.
Travel conditions became so perilous Saturday that several municipalities parked their snowplows out of concern for their drivers and travelers who ventured out against the advice of authorities.
As of Sunday morning, Dodge County in southeastern Minnesota said in a statement that its plow operators were back at it, “working hard to try and clear all the roads this morning. Many roadways are still very icy. Please slow down and give yourself extra time to get to where you’re going if you have to be out.”
Statewide from 5 a.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Sunday, the State Patrol responded to 732 crashes, with one of them fatal among the 71 with injuries. Another 760 vehicles spun out or slid off the road, and 31 semitrailer trucks jackknifed.
The bulk of the snowfall is behind the Twin Cities and surrounding communities, according to the National Weather Service, aside from some flurries Sunday that offer maybe another half-inch of accumulation. The main threat to outdoor comfort, the Weather Service noted, is a high of 10 in the metro Sunday, with windchill readings dipping as far as 15 below.
Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, will be mostly sunny in the Twin Cities, with a high near 12 and calmer winds.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482