Conditions expected to improve, but southern Minnesota roads littered with closures Monday morning

Drifts are nearly as high as silos in parts of southern Minnesota.
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The weekend blizzard caused so much blowing and drifting snow in southern Minnesota that roads remain closed in many areas Monday morning. 

Here's the 7 a.m. road conditions map from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Every red star with a horizontal line through it represents a closed road, and the roads highlighted in purple is where no travel advisories are in effect. 

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"Monday morning finds road closures still in effect in southern half of state. NW Minn. has improved," tweeted MnDOT Director of Communications Kevin Gutknecht. "Road conditions should improve as day progresses. Motorists should delay travel until conditions improve." 

The Minnesota National Guard was activated in Steele and Freeborn counties late Saturday night to help rescue stranded motorists, with armories in Albert Lea and Owatonna were opened for people to wait out the storm. 

As of late Sunday night, at least 150 people were being housed in the Owatonna armory, and more than 80 people were rescued from stranded vehicles in Steele and Freeborn counties. 

“In my 25 years, we have not seen snow like this,” Olmsted County Sheriff's Office Captain Mike Bromberg told the Rochester Post Bulletin.

Anywhere from 3 to 13 inches of snow fell late Saturday night through early Sunday morning, and the winds howled out of the northwest at 40-50 mph the rest of the day before dying down late Sunday night. 

The results were staggering, with ABC6 meteorologist Chris Kuball tweeting photos of drifts nearly as high as silos in south-central Minnesota. 

Even the St. Cloud State men's hockey team's bus got stuck in Watonwan County, where they were fed a meal at the local jail before venturing back out on the roads and arriving in St. Cloud just before midnight. 

Temps are now very cold with highs expected Monday to stay near zero or into the low single digits, with wind chill values Monday morning 25-35 below zero. More snow is in the forecast for Tuesday across central Minnesota. 

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