Brutal cold and fierce winds kept highways treacherous across large parts of Minnesota on Friday, one day after a snowstorm socked much of the state with several inches of snow.
Black ice, often nearly invisible or concealed under new snow, led to hundreds of collisions, cars in ditches and heart-stopping close calls.
At least one person was killed late Friday morning in a head-on crash between a pickup and semitrailer truck on icy Hwy. 61 in Wabasha County, where 8 inches of fresh snow fell Thursday.
In areas both rural and metro, the frigid weather reduced the effectiveness of road chemicals.
Relentless winds formed and re-formed drifts on country roads, and in parts of the city, plows and shovelers were running out of room to stash the snow. Much of the state was under a windchill advisory until 9 a.m. Saturday.
The situation remained especially perilous in western Minnesota. While blizzard and storm warnings were lifted Friday and several closed roads were reopened, the state Department of Transportation warned motorists to use extreme caution in the region.
Late Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz ordered the National Guard out to rescue stranded motorists in Renville County in western Minnesota and to open the Olivia Armory as a shelter.
"Two rescue missions were completed during the night, with 8 people being brought safely back to the armory in Olivia where they joined another 10 stranded motorists who had been brought there," the Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post.
The fierce winter weather closed many Minnesota public schools, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, and had many other districts starting late.
Snow emergencies in Minneapolis, St. Paul and several suburbs had drivers scrambling to move their cars as parking restrictions are in place.
During Friday morning's commute, MnDOT reported scores of crashes and spinouts in the metro area, with the biggest trouble spots along eastbound Interstate 94 from St. Michael to Maple Grove, northbound I-35E near I-494 in Mendota Heights, southbound I-35W near downtown Minneapolis and I-494 through Plymouth.
Hazard on Lake Minnetonka
Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson announced Friday afternoon that the Wayzata Beach motor vehicle access to Lake Minnetonka has been closed "due to a dangerous pressure ridge that makes it unsafe for vehicles to access the lake at that location."
In the wake of Thursday's storm, many areas of near-open water close to the ridge are now snow-covered, "obscuring these dangerous sections," he said.
An alternative access onto Wayzata Bay exists at Arlington Circle, near the Wayzata Beach Club, Hutchinson said in a news release.
Pedestrians and participants in Saturday's Chilly Open will be able to access the lake at Wayzata Beach by walking on a specific marked path around the pressure ridge, he said.
Saturday will bring a slight respite from the wind, but the high temperature in the metro area will be only 9 above and then move into the teens on Sunday, with more snow possible early next week.
Staff writers Tim Harlow and Pamela Miller contributed to this report.