Brutal 24 hours on Minnesota roads

9:45 AM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - It is April, right?

Anyone trying to get somewhere on freeways, highways or side streets between Thursday noon and late morning Friday found the going difficult, if not dangerous.

The Minnesota State Patrol says between noon Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday troopers responded to 406 crashes statewide, 48 which involved injuries. A 16-year-old was the only fatality when his car crashed with another vehicle in the east metro.

Another 787 vehicles either slid off the road or spun out, requiring trooper attention.  

KARE 11 meteorologist Belinda Jensen described the system as "a storm on steroids." It delivered far more snow than just about anyone expected, leaving state, county and city crews scrambling to make roads passable.

The morning drive was an absolute nightmare, with crashes and jacknife incidents closing ramps and lanes on major highways.

MnDOT says heavy snow compaction and ice from Thursday's extensive snowfall are making travel difficult to hazardous from the southwest corner to the northeast corner of Minnesota. Roads in the Twin Cities Metro area are in fair condition.

Drivers are urged to be patient, plan for trips to take additional time and if possible, avoid travel. Plow crews are currently working to remove the ice and compacted snow, but are inhibited by strong winds, drifting snow and cold temperatures in rural areas.

MnDOT maintenance personnel say Friday's primary concern is the wind. Drifting snow can cover a highway again immediately after a plow has just passed. The wind may blow salt off the road, and the salt becomes less effective in colder temperatures.

Officials do not anticipate any interstate or highway closures at this time, but motorists may encounter brief lane and road closures where crashes occur.

Crews expect road conditions to slowly improve throughout the day, as precipitation ends across the state Friday morning.

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