Area digs out of stormPublished 11:23am Monday, February 11, 2013
Residents in Fergus Falls and the surrounding areas seem to be hardest hit by a storm that dumped a foot of snow in the region and stranded motorists.
Fergus Falls and the surrounding area received between 12 and 16 inches between Saturday evening and Monday morning. While the main city streets were plowed by Monday morning, many township roads and side streets were not, forcing schools and many businesses to close.
Light snow and wind gusts up to 30 mph Monday morning continued to make travel conditions difficult.
Several highways in the area are closed, including Interstate 94 from Alexandria to Moorhead, and state highways 10 and 210. Sheriff’s deputies in Grant and Douglas counties assisted drivers who became stranded.
The National Weather Service says Glenwood in Pope County got 12 inches of snow Sunday. Walker has about 11 inches and Hillman has 10 inches. The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported early Monday that most roadways in the state present difficult driving conditions.
The State Patrol handled 326 crashes since Sunday morning, including 42 that involved injuries.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is asking motorists to stay off the roads. “We want to ask people to be patient out there,” This said MnDOT representative Jeremiah Moerke. “We still have a no travel advisory for all of west central Minnesota. Conditions are still not good. We are asking people if at all possible to stay off the roads.”
He says the wind is filling in the road behind the plows. Conditions should improve after the wind dies down.
It is illegal to travel on roads that are closed. Motorists can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to 90 days in jail if caught driving on a closed road. Travelers will also have to pay expenses if they need to be rescued from a closed road.