UPDATE: Roads closed, no travel advised due to blizzard

UPDATE: Roads closed, no travel advised due to blizzard
Image from MN DOT snowplow along Highway 4 in Watonwan County Wednesday afternoon (Source: Minnesota Department of Transportation)

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - 3:30 PM UPDATE -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation has closed highways in southwestern Minnesota due to numerous crashes and zero visibility including Interstate 90 from the South Dakota Border to Blue Earth. The closures are now in effect and include the following counties:

  • Blue Earth (Hwy 60 west of Hwy 60/169 junction only)
  • Brown (western portion)
  • Cottonwood
  • Jackson
  • Martin
  • Nobles
  • Rock
  • Watonwan
  • I-90 from South Dakota to Blue Earth

Roadways will remain closed until conditions improve. When a road is closed it is illegal to travel in that area. Drivers can be fined up to $1,000 and/or sentenced to 90 days in jail. In addition, if travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties could apply.

A no travel advisory has been added for some state highways in the following southwest Minnesota counties.

  • Blue Earth (rural areas)
  • Faribault
  • Nicollet (Hwy 111 and Hwy 22)
  • Sibley (Hwy 22 and Hwy 19)
  • Waseca

Check www.511mn.org for more specifics on closures and advisories.

Snowplows will continue to operate in areas where they can see. Snowplows will be pulled off the road when visibility makes it unsafe for them to operate.

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store. Follow us on Twitter @mndotscentral .

1 PM UPDATE: Due to dangerous driving conditions, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has enacted a no travel advisory on state and federal highways in the following counties:

  • Blue Earth (western portion)
  • Brown (western portion)
  • Cottonwood
  • Faribault (western portion)
  • Jackson
  • Martin
  • Nobles
  • Rock
  • Watonwan

The advisory is until further notice and includes Interstate 90 and Highway 60 in southwest Minnesota.

Blowing snow is causing whiteout conditions. Visibility is poor, in some areas down to zero. Snowplows will continue to operate, but motorists are advised not to travel until conditions improve.

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for much of southern Minnesota. Be prepared for extremely difficult travel conditions. Total snowfall predictions vary, but wind gusts of 50 miles per hour, in some areas, could lead to dangerous travel conditions.

MnDOT snowplow operators are doing their part to make highways safe. Motorists should remember to:

  • Call 511 or visit 511mn.org before leaving on your trip to get current road conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
  • Turn off your cruise control.
  • Slow down; allow at least 10 car lengths between your vehicle and a plow.
  • Stay behind the snowplow. The road behind a snowplow is safer to drive on.
  • Watch for snowplows that turn or exit frequently, and often with little warning.
  • Never drive into a snow cloud.

For tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store. Follow us on Twitter @mndotscentral .

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