Plows are out but roads are slick in west central Minnesota
WILLMAR - State roads are reported to be in difficult or fair driving condition throughout much of the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Web site: 511mn.org.
Roads are passable but are snow-covered and slippery in many areas, said Diane Beck, public affairs director from the MnDOT District 8 office in Willmar.
If the predicted 20- to 30-mile-per-hour winds hit this evening, visibility will be an issue, she said.
In Chippewa County, the Sheriff's Department said state Highway 7 is icy. An accident there Wednesday injured four people.
Roads are also slick in Lac qui Parle County, according to the Sheriff's Department, but there have been no reports of accidents yet.
John Holtz, chief deputy from the Swift County Sheriff's Department, said many of the gravel roads haven't been plowed and are in "very, very poor condition." Roads that have been plowed are slippery.
Holtz, who had a couple close calls today with his squad car sliding on slippery roads, is advising motorists to drive slowly and cautiously.
With word that the winter storm warning in the Aberdeen, S.D., area has been changed to a blizzard warning, Holtz said he's concerned the western high winds will hit this area and cause white-out conditions.
In Meeker County, Sheriff Jeff Norlin said state roads and U.S. Highway 12 are "actually in pretty good driving condition."
City streets in Litchfield are clear but slippery, and township roads are "getting cleared but they're slippery."
So far there have been no accidents in Meeker County, but Norlin said drivers "need to be cautious and attentive when they're driving and give yourself plenty of space between vehicles. And if you're in a hurry - don't be."
In Kandiyohi County, crews began at 6 a.m. and were expected to have their routes completed by 1 p.m. The warmer-than-expected temperatures, and the lull in the snowfall, helped get the roads cleared, said Dave Fritz, director of maintenance for the county.
"Now we're just waiting to see what Mother Nature brings for the rest of the weekend," said Fritz.
Kandiyohi County plows will be back on their routes Friday and Saturday mornings.