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Blizzard warning: Highways closed and no travel advised in west central and southwest Minn.

A Tribune reader submitted this mobile phone photo of conditions this afternoon on state Highway 23 near Cottonwood.

Updated 5 p.m

A blizzard warning remains in effect until midnight and no travel is advised at this time for west central and southwest Minnesota.

All state highways in west central and southwestern Minnesota were closed at 3 p.m. until further notice.

The Minnesota National Guard has been activated to assist counties in west central and southwestern Minnesota to provide shelter and other support. National Guard Armories in Olivia, Marshall and St. James have been opened for standed travelers.

The road closing includes highways south and west of Willmar, including U.S. Highway 71 and state Highways 23 and 40. Additional west central counties included in the road closing Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood and Yellow Medicine.

The National Weather Service's blizzard warning includes the west central Minnesota counties of Chippewa, Douglas, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, McLeod, Meeker, Pope, Redwood, Renville, Stevens, Swift, and Yellow Medicine.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation advises no travel in southwest and west central Minnesota due to blowing snow and reduced visibility, according to Pam Wood, public affairs coordinator with the MnDOT District 8 office in Willmar.

Kandiyohi County plows have been out since early morning trying to keep intersections sanded and knocking down snow drifts.

"In this wind it's pretty tough," said Steve Lindgren, shop foreman for the Kandiyohi County Public Works Department.

Visibility is worse in the open areas and drifts that are plowed out are filling in quickly again, said Lindgren.

Interstate 90 is closed from Albert Lea to the South Dakota border and will remain closed until further notice. Interstate 35 is also closed from I90 from Albert Lea to the Iowa border and southward to Ames, Iowa.

The NWS forecast has the blizzard warning and wind advisory in effect until midnight tonight.

Tonight: Colder...Windy. Mostly cloudy. Periods of snow in the evening. Blowing and drifting snow in the evening. Little or no snow accumulation. Lows around zero. Northwest winds 25 to 30 mph decreasing to 15 to 30 mph after midnight. Chance of snow 60 percent.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. Highs 5 to 10. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph.

Tuesday night: Mostly clear. Lows 5 below to 10 below zero. West winds 5 to 15 mph.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs 5 to 10. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Wednesday night: Mostly clear. Lows 5 below to 10 below zero. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Thursday through Friday: Mostly clear. Highs zero to 5 above zero. Lows 10 below to 15 below zero.

Friday night and Saturday: Mostly clear. Lows around 10 below. Highs around 10 above.

Saturday night and Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows 5 below to zero. Highs around 20.

Sunday night: Partly cloudy. Lows 5 to 10.

Monday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs around 25.

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