Update: 11:52 AM
Interstate 90 in southwestern Minnesota reopened around 11 a.m. Saturday, according to MnDOT, and travel advisories were not lifted on other roads in the area.
During dangerously cold blizzards, the Minnesota National Guard assisted local law enforcement, and state police rescued people trapped in Renville, Jackson, and other counties.
Authorities begged people to patiently stay off the roads to give crews time to clear drifted snow.As of noon Saturday, many highways remained closed.
The Cottonwood County Department of Public Works said, “There are several areas where large drifts have blocked both lanes of the road. Due to the winds of the last few days, the drifts have been so violent that crews have had much more trouble than usual. will take a long time,” he posted. to social media.
Minnesota’s emergency management agency said Friday night that at least 60 people were under protection in Renville County and 22 in Freeborn County. “Crews are using a nearby fire station as they are having trouble getting stranded motorists in Kandyyohi County to Wilmar Arsenal,” Homeland Security and Emergency Management said on Twitter. said in
According to MnDOT, Interstate 90 has reopened, but caution is still required as drifting and snowstorms reduce visibility. The counties of Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Le Sur, Martin, Nicollette, Nobles, Locke, Sibley, Waseka, and Watsonwan counties have not lifted travel advisories from state highways.
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Winter weather advisories remain in place for southeastern and northeastern Minnesota as the storm moves east. According to the Duluth National Weather Service, gusts of 35 to 45 mph along the north coast will continue through Saturday, but are expected to ease in the evening. Temperatures will range from -5 to -15 degrees Celsius, with wind chill warnings in place through Sunday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
WTIP North Shore Community Radio reported multiple outages on Friday night by Arrowhead Co-op and Great River Energy due to transmission problems.
Many flights were canceled Saturday morning as a huge winter storm damaged holiday travel across the Midwest and East Coast.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, there were 180 crashes on Saturday morning that caused 97 vehicles to spin or go off the road, but no one was seriously injured or killed.
In Brown County, including New Ulm, plows were removed from roads on Friday afternoon after plowed snow was pushed back across roads by the wind.
“In town, it may look safe with lots of trees and buildings to keep the wind out, but when you go out into the county or the countryside, the wind can get so strong that visibility is almost non-existent,” said Brown County Sheriff Jason Seidle. told MPR News.
Seidl said he and his agent had to go out to find a driver stranded on a road in the county.
“These vehicles are abandoned in the middle of the road because they are catching drift. he said. “Now I run into another person’s back trying to get out when they shouldn’t.”
As for the stranded vehicles, Seidl said, “they will probably be mostly covered with snowdrifts and suddenly plows will hit these in the next few days.”
Over 2,100 crashes and counts
The difficult driving that began on Wednesday in the snow continued on Thursday and Friday on Minnesota roads.
State Patrol reported more than 2,100 collisions and spinouts on Minnesota highways between 6:00 am Wednesday and 11:30 am Friday. This total covers state and federal highways only and does not count city and county roads. There were no reports of serious injuries or deaths.
Snowstorms and snow drifts and lingering ice will continue to make travel in the area difficult over the weekend.
MnDOT said 800 snowplows and 1,600 drivers will be able to safely clear highways statewide.
Drivers can check road conditions on the state’s 511 website. Try to avoid driving during the worst storms.
See airports and stations
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport reported dozens of flight cancellations and additional delays on Friday, following dozens of cancellations on Thursday.
However, many flights arrived and departed on time.
Twin Cities airport officials said travelers should be aware of forecasts and flight conditions and expect delays on roads near the airport.
For rail transportation, Amtrak canceled trains on the Empire Builder Route between Chicago and Seattle, including a stretch across Minnesota, through Sunday due to winter storms.
Amtrak said it made that decision “with great care” given the snowstorm conditions and dangerously cold wind chill.
Waive fees for passengers who want to change their travel plans.
Worried about power outages
A Minnesota utility company reported sporadic power outages on Friday as gusts of wind hit trees already weakened by earlier storms this winter.
Minnesota Power reported a power outage affecting more than 1,500 customers in the Duluth area just after noon, but most of those homes and businesses had power restored by late afternoon.
Although not widespread, the blackout was a particular concern in the cold of freezing temperatures and dangerous winds.
And utilities were gearing up for more downlines.
“The biggest threat to blackouts is expected to come from trees that are still covered in snow from last week’s heavy wet snow. It could go up,” reports Minnesota Power. The utility said its crew “has been working since last week’s storm to preemptively remove trees that could threaten power lines and cause blackouts.”
“Despite preventative tree removal, power outages are still a possibility during this storm. Responses may be delayed during periods of forecasted weather.”
Natural gas operators appeal for energy conservation
A natural gas supplier in Minnesota has urged customers to consider turning down heat to save energy during cold spells.
Extreme cold weather hit much of the United States, causing a short-term surge in natural gas prices.
Ross Corson is a spokesperson for CenterPoint Energy, Minnesota’s largest natural gas marketer. He said he wasn’t worried about having enough gas to maintain the heat. But Colson said consumers can take steps to conserve energy and save money.
“Generally, I think the thermostat should be kept at a level where you feel comfortable. But if you can get it down to 65 degrees during the day, you can turn it down a bit at night. Stay away, it saves energy.” I will,” he said.
According to Corson, other ways to save energy include cleaning or replacing furnace filters, leaving shades and curtains open during the day and closing them at night, and adding weather strips around doors and windows. And so on.
If you’re having trouble paying your utility bills, contact your utility to set up a payment plan and find out if you’re eligible for energy assistance.
Link to more information
Here’s how to check the forecast, travel status and flight updates for the next few days.
These state transportation departments are providing live updates on road conditions and crashes.
If you are flying from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Paul International Airport or any other airport in the area, or if you plan to fly in, the airport provides flight status updates online.
Winter storms can spell trouble for travelers, but they’re welcome news for skiers, snowmobilers, and other winter activity enthusiasts.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides up-to-date information on the state of cross-country ski and snowmobile trails along state parks and state trails around Minnesota.
The Minnesota Ski Association posts updates on snow conditions at downhill ski and snowboard areas in the state.
The Loppet Foundation has posted an update on the state of Minneapolis’ cross-country ski trails.
SkinnySki.com shares the latest in cross-country ski trails from across the state.