Dayton calls out National Guard amid snowstorm
FORUM NEWS SERVICE
With high winds and more than a foot of fresh snow falling in some areas, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday issued an emergency order directing the Minnesota National Guard to assist stranded motorists.
The Minnesota State Patrol was advising no travel throughout much of the state due to snow-and-ice-covered roads.
Road conditions prompted all State Patrol command staff to suspend their daily duties and provide assistance on state highways.
“We’re receiving reports from veteran troopers in several areas of the state of conditions that are as bad as they’ve seen in 25 years,” said State Patrol Lt. Col. Matt Langer. “We need motorists to avoid traveling unless it’s absolutely necessary. It is simply too dangerous right now and MnDOT needs room to clear the roads of snow and ice.”
The Meeker County Sheriff’s Department in central Minnesota reported nearly 40 vehicles abandoned on roads Thursday night and early Friday.
The State Patrol expects road conditions to remain treacherous for the next several days.
Up to 18 inches fell overnight in parts of northwestern Wisconsin and northeast Minnesota, with 14 inches officially in Duluth.
More than 250 people spent the night in shelters across six Minnesota counties Thursday night, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Counties with shelters include Steele, Freeborn, Renville, Le Sueur, Blue Earth and Cottonwood.
The traffic problems included a fatal crash in Wabasha County. The driver of a van was killed in a collision with a semi-truck on Minnesota Highway 42.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press, a media partner with Forum News Service, contributed to this report.