Snow, high winds close Interstate 94 in western Minnesota

  • Updated: March 18, 2013 - 7:26 AM

With just a few days to go until spring, winter was preparing to hang on with the cold.

Heavy snow and strong winds are creating hazardous travel conditions in west central Minnesota.

The State Patrol and the Department of Transportation have closed three roadways because of low visibility. They include Interstate Hwy. 94 from Moorhead to Alexandria, Highway 10 from Moorhead to Audubon and Highway 210 from Breckenridge to Fergus Falls.

The State Patrol reminds motorists that drivers can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to 90 days in jail for traveling on a road that's closed.

In the metro area, freeways were mostly covered with snow, making it almost impossible to see lane markings. By 7 a.m., traffic was moving at speeds well below the posted limits.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for western Minnesota with the worst weather across the Minnesota River Valley. Up to 5 inches of snow with wind gusts of near 50 mph is expected to create whiteout conditions.

Moderate snow is expected to make the commute challenging in the Twin Cities Monday morning.

Forecasters expect 1 to 3 inches of snow to fall Monday in the Twin Cities and temperatures to remain 20 degrees colder than normal through the week.

“The morning commute is going to be a challenge,” said Kent Barnard, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. He noted that the Weather Service expects the heaviest concentration of snow to start about 5 a.m. Monday and accumulate at a rate of about half an inch per hour through the rush hour.

Work crews were out around midnight to get a jump-start on keeping the roads as clear as possible. “We’ll be out before the snow starts,” Barnard said.

Monday’s high in the metro will be about 31, but wind gusts are expected to reach up to 30 mph by afternoon. For the rest of the week, expect lows in the single digits and highs in the 20s.

Tuesday is expected to be mostly sunny.

Herón Márquez Estrada • 952-746-3281

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