Stranded vehicles blocking roads in southwest Minnesota Friday morning as blizzard continues

Most of southwest Minnesota remains an area where no travel is advised by transportation officials, and roads have been closed due to stranded vehicles.

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Whiteout conditions make for difficult travel along U.S. Highway 71 at the southern edge of Willmar as blizzard conditions worsen early in the morning on Friday, Dec. 23, 2022. The roadway was closed Friday morning between Minnesota Highway 7 and Olivia, as vehicles were reported stranded, blocking traffic, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — While there is some improvement in road conditions as of 9 a.m. Friday morning right around Willmar, southwest Minnesota on the 511 travel information map largely remains a maze of road closures and areas where no travel is advised.

Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 tweeted at 7:45 a.m. Friday that U.S. Highway 71 is closed from Olivia to state Highway 7 due to a vehicle blocking the roadway.

MnDOT on Thursday evening had said no travel was advised overnight in southwest Minnesota.

Some people believe that wind chill is just hype and that only the temperature and wind speed should be reported.
After a generally quiet January for most of the region we'll see a surge of bitter cold temperatures returning this weekend.

Minnesota Highway 19 is closed from Marshall all the way to Fairfax due to stranded vehicles, and MnDOT Distirct 8 said in a tweet before 6:30 a..m. that "vehicles continue to become stranded" and no travel is advised.


The Minnesota Department of Transportation's Traveler Information website at is showing some improvement in road conditions as of 9:30 a.m. around Willmar and Litchfield, with roads partially covered though snow is blowing and visibility is a half-mile or less. The site shows most roads around Benson have only light snow as of Friday morning.

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A signs warns drivers of blizzard conditions along U.S. Highway 71 at the northern edge of Willmar on the morning of Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, as strong winds caused extreme whiteout conditions.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

The blizzard is not over, however.

The National Weather Service-Twin Cities said Friday morning on Twitter that conditions "continue to worsen in open areas this morning."

A camera on U.S. Highway 212 near Hector, Minnesota, shows whiteout conditions at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.
A camera on U.S. Highway 212 near Hector, Minnesota, shows whiteout conditions at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.
Contributed / Minnesota Department of Transportatin

And the blizzard warning for Willmar and the region remains in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday.

Susan Lunneborg is the news editor of the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota. A journalist for more than 25 years, she has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Lunneborg can be reached at: or 320-214-4343.
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