Schools are closed and travel conditions are fair
WILLMAR –– Many schools in the region are closed this morning and state and county highway crews are out in force to clear snow and lay down salt and sand on slippery, snow-compacted roads as gusty northwest winds keep buffing the ice.
On top of that, the wind chill is around 20 below.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation said roads in west central Minnesota are in difficult or – at best – fair driving condition.
Last night MnDOT pulled the plows in south central Minnesota because of poor visibility and shut down state Highway 19 from Vesta to Redwood Falls.
The Meeker County Sheriff’s Department reported nearly 40 vehicles abandoned on roads last night and early this morning.
MnDOT is working with the State Patrol to get vehicles removed so roads can be plowed.
Emergency shelters in the southern part of Minnesota were used last night to house about 252 people who had become stranded on the roads. including 134 in Renville County, where five emergency shelters were opened, including the National Guard Armory. More than 70 people were also housed in emergency shelters in Cottonwood County, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.