Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Feb. 21, 2023

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Upcoming snowstorm could create hazardous driving conditions in SW MN

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WILLMAR, Minn. (1:00 p.m.) – The Minnesota Department of Transportation advises travelers that a historic snowstorm forecast by the National Weather Service could create hazardous driving conditions in southwest Minnesota through Thursday this week.

“MnDOT plows will be out in force and will work diligently to keep roads open,” said District 8 Operations Superintendent Lonnie Hoffman, “however, folks should consider changing travel plans and be prepared that roadways could quickly move to no travel advised or closed as two storm fronts move across the area.”

Travelers can monitor National Weather Service forecasts for the latest information and 511mn.org to see road status, weather alerts, snowplow cam views, and travel advisories. If No Travel Advisories are issued or roads are closed, they will be posted on 511mn.org .

Sign up for Travel Alerts
Travelers can sign up for text or email messages for state highway advisories. The counties included in travel alerts for southwest Minnesota are Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, and Yellow Medicine. Notifications by text/email will be for road situations that will help travelers make informed travel decisions, including no travel advisories and road closures due to weather-related conditions.

Sign up for email or text travel alerts at MnDOT's website by clicking “Email and text updates” under the “Connect with us” heading. Choose to receive messages via email or text message. Then, choose the “Southwest MN Travel Alerts” under the “Travel Alerts” category.

Stay alert for snowplows
Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and may travel over centerlines or partially into traffic to further improve road conditions. The average snowplow route in southwest Minnesota is sixty miles, roundtrip. Some routes are considerably longer. In good conditions it can take two and one-half hours to clear a route. In difficult conditions it can take up to four hours. In general, plows are out from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m., longer if conditions require. Be aware that it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions, especially in extreme temperatures.

A plow’s sole purpose is to make the roads as clear and passable as quickly as possible. Plow operators have much to monitor and control while on duty, and their ability to see behind them is limited. They travel more slowly than the posted speeds as it is more effective for clearing snow. Their vision can be hampered by the snow clouds they create while plowing, so MnDOT urges drivers to stay at least ten car lengths behind a plow. Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.