The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) warns motorists in southwest and west central Minnesota that forecasted heavy snow and strong winds overnight will significantly reduce visibility and make travel difficult, if not hazardous.
Several factors may lead the Willmar District office to advise no travel later tonight as snowplows will only be out until around 10 p.m. and the heaviest snowfall with wind gusts creating near white-out conditions forecasted for the overnight hours.
Snowplows will resume in the early hours on Wednesday and motorists should check road conditions before traveling. With high winds forecasted well into the morning, it will likely take the snowplows longer to recover the roads for improved travel conditions, especially with the forecasted snow totals.
The average snow plow route in District 8 (southwest and west central Minn.) is sixty miles, round-trip. 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.
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 www.511mn.org
- For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store.
For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.