WILLMAR, Minn.— The Minnesota Department of Transportation's Willmar office advises no unnecessary travel in counties with blizzard conditions, with blowing snow and reduced visibility, in parts of southwest Minnesota, including the counties of Lincoln, Lyon, Pipestone and Murray.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning until 3 p.m. today for parts of southwest Minnesota, including the counties of Lyon, Murray, Cottonwood, Nobles, Jackson and Pipestone.
Road conditions may also be icy due to strong winds making it near impossible to apply chemicals. Freezing drizzle/rain is also forecast for today which likely worsen driving conditions.
The weather service forecasts south to southwest wins of 20 to 35 mph, with gusts to 45 mph, continuing into this afternoon. The strong winds will be along and just northeast of the Buffalo Ridge, with a few gusts up to 50 mph possible. These winds will create areas of blowing and drifting snow.
Officials do not anticipate any interstate or highway closures at this time; however, motorists may encounter brief lane and road closures where crashes occur.
Travelers are reminded to slow down and turn off the cruise control even though road conditions in some areas may be clear.
MnDOT snow plow operators are doing their part to make highways safe. Motorists should remember to:
* Check road conditions at www.511mn.org or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.
* Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
* Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Snowplow operators will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow traffic build-up to pass.
* Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They may also travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
* Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.
For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone.
For updated information on road conditions, visit www.511mn.org or call 511.