Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Jan. 23, 2019

Blizzard warning issued in WC Minnesota, MnDOT reminds drivers to use caution

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Strong winds and blowing snow are forecasted for west central Minnesota beginning Wednesday evening. The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds motorists of the importance of good winter driving habits.

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for Clay, Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, west Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Wilkin counties in west central Minnesota and a Winter Weather Advisory for Becker, Mahnomen and east Otter Tail counties. According to the National Weather Service, areas in the warning have the highest chance of whiteout conditions due to blowing snow and wind gusts up to 40 mph. MnDOT snowplow crews are on alert and prepared for the potential of blowing snow and ice.

MnDOT snowplow operators will do their part to make highways safe and motorists should remember to:

  • Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
  • Turn off the cruise control.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Don’t drive distracted.
  • Check MnDOT’s road conditions map at 511mn.org

For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.

“Motorists should be prepared for reduced visibility throughout the region, especially in open areas with no wind breaks. Whiteout conditions are expected and MnDOT plows will be out, so drivers should be alert and stay back so operators have room to work. We want everyone to be safe out there,” said Kohl Skalin, maintenance superintendent in MnDOT District 4.

In west central Minnesota there are 61 snowplows that work the state highways in the 12-county MnDOT District 4. During winter weather such as what’s forecasted, MnDOT is likely to deploy two shifts of drivers in the snowplows, who can keep the snowplowing effort going around the clock by working up to 12-hour shifts. In west central Minnesota, MnDOT is in charge of plowing 3,612 lane miles.