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Icy conditions close freeway, create travel hazards

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Freezing rain coated roads in northern Minnesota with a thick layer of ice, leading to the shutdown of Interstate 94. KSTP reported the freeway was closed from Fergus Falls to Alexandria due to extremely icy conditions.

A Minnesota State Patrol spokesman said said troopers in northwest and west-central Minnesota responded to 18 crashes, four of which were rollovers. Another 31 vehicles were spun out or off the road.

The National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning for parts of northern Minnesota, including Cass, Beltrami and Koochiching counties. More wintry weather will follow. Forecasters expect 3 to 7 inches of snow this weekend for St. Louis, Itasca and Koochiching counties.

Slick travel conditions caused some school districts to cancel or delay classes Friday.

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MnDOT will shut down two stretches of heavily-traveled intestates in the Twin Cities this weekend. Motorists will want to avoid both directions of I-494 between Hwy 100 and I-35W, as well as the eastbound lanes of Interstate 694 between I-35W and Lexington Avenue. These two areas will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday until Monday morning's rush hour.

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