by Cori Hilsgen
As if the weather hasn’t given area residents enough to complain about, 8 inches of new snow fell in the area late last week, followed by more frigid temperatures. The heavy, wet snow caused very dangerous road conditions for evening and morning commuters Feb. 20 and 21.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported numerous vehicles in ditches and advised people not to travel anywhere in central Minnesota unless necessary. The Minnesota State Patrol issued a no-travel advisory early Friday morning and reported the snow- and ice-covered roads were the worst the region has seen in 25 years. Blowing and drifting snow added to the dangerous travel conditions. Between Thursday and Friday afternoon, the state patrol responded to more than 400 crashes, including 40 semis that had jackknifed.
Several roads were closed in the southern part of the state and Gov. Mark Dayton directed the Minnesota National Guard to assist stranded motorists. Freeborn, Renville and Steele county sheriffs requested help obtaining shelter and other resources for stranded motorists.
Local school districts of St. Cloud, Sartell-St. Stephen and Sauk Rapids-Rice joined many others in the state in closing for yet another snow day.
Neighborhoods were busy shoveling, plowing and blowing snow. Many residents’ banks of snow on both sides of their driveway are now so high, they wonder where they’ll be able to put more snow.