Mankato, Minnesota (KEYC) – The Minnesota Department of Transportation has issued an immediate no-go advisory on state highways in south-central and southwestern Minnesota, including I-90, due to snowstorm conditions and zero visibility.
The counties included in the travel ban advisory are Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Le Sur, Martin, Nicolette, Nobles, Rock, Sibley, Waseka, and Watton One.
Most state highways in South Central and Southwest Minnesota will be closed tonight at 7pm. All state highways in Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Martin, Nobles, Rock, Waseka and Watongwan counties will be closed. Blue Earth (Highway 169 north of Mankato), Le Sur (Highway 99 east of St. Peter, Highway 19 from Henderson to New Prague), Nicollet (Highway 169), Sibley (Gaylord to Highway 169) and Highway 19) Henderson) County will remain open as conditions permit. Additional road closures are likely as conditions are expected to worsen overnight and on Friday.
The challenge with this blizzard is that the persistent high winds create blizzards and snow drifts, along with extremely dangerous wind chills, and visibility drops dramatically, sometimes to zero. The situation can be life-threatening if a traveler becomes stranded. Travelers should consider changing travel plans until the blizzard warning is no longer in effect.
MnDOT reminds drivers that it is illegal to drive on closed roads and that if a driver requires rescue, they are responsible for all associated rescue costs.
The lack of travel advisories means that the roadway is deteriorating and/or visibility is reduced to a level that makes travel very dangerous. There have been reports of intermittent whiteout conditions. Also, some weather conditions can be so severe that road treatments such as salt and sand are ineffective. Drivers are advised not to travel in these areas until conditions improve.
MnDOT District 7, which serves the Mankato and Windom areas, is not staffed 24 hours a day. South Central and Southwest Minnesota crews will be out tonight until 7pm. Crews will resume operations on Friday morning weather permitting, but conditions are expected to remain challenging on Saturday.
If you must travel, drivers should have a full tank of gas, a winter survival kit and remember:
- check www.511mn.org Or get the free smartphone app on Google Play or App Store for road conditions, travel information.
- Watch out for snowplows, turns and exits frequently, with little warning. They may also cross the centerline or partially increase traffic to further improve road conditions.
- stay back At least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive in snow clouds.
- slow down to a speed that is safe in the current situation.
- turn on the headlights When Please fasten your seat belt.
- Turn off cruise control.
- Be patient Remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
- Do not drive distracted.
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