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Winter storm creates whiteout conditions, closing roads and causing crashes

Roads in southwestern Minnesota were closed early Friday, while slippery conditions elsewhere in the state led to crashes and spinouts.
A crash on Interstate 94 about 15 miles east of Moorhead.

A crash on Interstate 94 about 15 miles east of Moorhead.

Snow-covered roads and strong winds in the western half of Minnesota caused problems Friday morning, while whiteout conditions could persist in the southwestern corner of the state.

While the Twin Cities metro was largely spared from a major winter storm Thursday into Friday, heavy snow and strong winds forced the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to close Interstate 90 from Blue Earth to the South Dakota border, as well as other state highways in southwestern Minnesota Thursday night. 

Many of the roads, including I-90, remained closed Friday morning, while travel wasn't advised on other highways in the southwestern corner of the state. 

Meanwhile, snow-covered roads in northwestern Minnesota caused problems. The Minnesota State Patrol's Sgt. Jesse Grabow has reported several vehicle spinouts and vehicles off the road overnight and Friday morning.

Statewide, from 9:45 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday, 47 crashes (three with injuries, no serious or fatal), 107 vehicle spinouts/vehicles off the road and three jackknifed semi-trucks were reported, the Minnesota State Patrol says

Here's a look at the road conditions across the state as of 8:22 a.m. (the red on the map means the road is closed, while the dark purple means travel is not advised):

Conditions on roads throughout the state had started to improve after 9 a.m., but roads in southwestern Minnesota were still closed or completely covered in snow. 

You can check the latest road conditions on MnDOT's website here.

Conditions will 'slowly improve' Friday afternoon

The National Weather Service (NWS) says snow will continue across central and southern Minnesota on Friday, with more snow, about 2-4 inches, possible. Strong winds, with gusts of 40-50 mph, in western and southern Minnesota will lead to whiteout conditions across the area, which will impact travel and could keep highways closed.

A blizzard warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. Friday for areas along and west of a line from Alexandria to Litchfield to Arlington to Owatonna, including the I-90 corridor and Interstate 35 from Owatonna south, NWS says.

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Anyone on the roads should plan on them being slippery, with areas of blowing snow "significantly" reducing visibility, especially during the morning. Gusty winds will continue throughout the day, but conditions are expected to "slowly improve" Friday afternoon into the evening, NWS says.

East and north of the blizzard warning, a winter weather advisory remains in effect until later Friday.

In central, east-central, south-central and southeast Minnesota, the winter weather advisory expires at 6 p.m. The area could see gusty winds and snow continue through the day, but conditions will slowly improve, NWS says.

NWS says central, west-central and northwestern Minnesota could see occasional light snow and possibly freezing drizzle, as well as winds gusting as high as 45 mph. Plan on slippery roads and patchy blowing snow reducing visibility, especially Friday morning. The winter weather advisory there expires at 3 p.m. 

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