Winter keeps a tight grip on west central Minnesota

A March 16 snowstorm put a halt to dreams of spring as whiteout conditions closed roads throughout west central Minnesota. Residents were advised to remain home and off the roads until conditions improved.

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Folks mingle in downtown Spicer along Glacial Ridge Trail as heavy snow and winds move through the region on Thursday, March 16, 2023. The photo was taken with a long lens which condenses the photo lines.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Several inches of snow Thursday morning followed by rising winds created limited visibility and blizzard conditions across much of Minnesota.

Many schools didn’t open Thursday morning, and the ones that had opened sent their students home early.

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A New London-Spicer student covers their face to shield it from blowing snow as whiteout conditions inundate New London during an early school dismissal due to deteriorating weather conditions Thursday, March 16, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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A vehicle drives in whiteout conditions along Minnesota Highway 23 outside Spicer on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

The Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 advised no travel on a number of roads in southwestern Minnesota.

Portions of U.S. highways 14 and 71 and state highways 30, 60, 62 and 86 were under no-travel advisories Thursday afternoon.

A section of Highway 14 between Tracy and Highway 23 was closed, as was a section of Highway 67 west of Granite Falls.


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A student walks to a vehicle after New London-Spicer Schools dismissed early due to winter weather on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Many roads in the area were listed as covered in snow and ice with visibility of less than a half mile. In some cases, visibility was 1/10 of a mile.

A winter weather advisory was issued for much of southwestern and central Minnesota through 7 a.m. Friday. Temperatures were expected to be in the single digits Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

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A woman walks through heavy snow after leaving Teal's Market in Spicer on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Daytime temperatures will be in the teens and low 20s until Sunday, when they will be closer to 30. By Monday, temperatures will be near 40.

Unfortunately, rain and snow are expected again Wednesday and Thursday.

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A snowplow clears Glacial Ridge Trail in downtown Spicer during a snowstorm on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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