Wintry storm causes hundreds of crashes in Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS — The Latest on a wintry storm blowing across the upper Midwest (all times local):
Authorities report hundreds of crashes in Minnesota as a snowstorm sweeps across the state.
The Minnesota State Patrol reports 340 crashes, including 37 with injuries, and more than 550 spinouts statewide since Thursday night. At least one person died on icy roads. The patrol says a 42-year-old man from Fulda died in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 59 early Friday.
Heavy, wet snow also was causing power outages. Officials of Crow Wing Power reported 4,000 customers lost power Friday. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the power cooperative, which serves counties in central and north-central Minnesota, pulled crews off the roads and shut its offices down.
Transportation officials recommended no travel in parts of southwestern Minnesota due to whiteout conditions and roads covered with blowing snow.
Snow was also reported in parts of Nebraska and the Dakotas.
Snow is falling rapidly in northern Minnesota, where more than a foot has fallen in the first major wintry blast of the season.
A spotter for the National Weather Service reports nearly 14 inches of snow fell at a location in Cass County by early Friday afternoon. In Itasca (eye-TAS’-kuh) County, an observer reports a foot of snow near Coleraine, with 5 inches falling in less than two hours.
Meteorologist Amanda Graning of the National Weather Service in Duluth says some areas in northern Minnesota could see up to 2 feet of snow before the heavy band starts dissipating Friday evening.
Transportation officials say a wintry storm that swept the northern Plains states Friday has sent cars and semitrailers into ditches along Interstate 94 in western Minnesota.
Jerimiah Moerke with the Minnesota Department of Transportation told the Fergus Falls Daily Journal that snow and high winds have made it difficult for vehicles — especially big rigs — to get up hills on the interstate around Dalton. Officials say at least one semitrailer jackknifed on I-94 between Fergus Falls and Evansville.
Minnesota State Patrol trooper Jesse Grabow says low visibility, ice, snow and slush are the main causes for crashes and spin outs on the interstate.
This item has been corrected to reflect that Dalton is in western Minnesota.
Northern Nebraska residents are digging out after half a foot of snow fell in some areas, as a wintry blast moved from the Rocky Mountain region into northern Plains states.
National Weather Service meteorologist Cody Moldan in North Platte, Nebraska, says 6 inches of snow fell in Newport overnight Thursday. He says from 3 inches to more than 5 inches of snow fell in other parts of northern Nebraska before the storm moved northeast Friday morning.
Temperatures have dipped into the lower 30s, with high winds making conditions feel colder. Moldan says temperatures in the area will drop into the single digits and teens late Friday and early Saturday morning.
That’s a big change from earlier in the week. Temperatures hovered around 70 degrees in the area on Wednesday.
The unseasonably mild conditions of recent days will be ushered out by a jolt of wintry weather that’s expected to bring blizzards, freezing temperatures and high winds to northern Plains states.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Friday in eastern parts of North and South Dakota and western Minnesota, as well as winter storm warnings for other parts of those states and Nebraska.
The service says up to a foot of snow could fall in parts of Minnesota, and 3 to 8 inches elsewhere.
Gusts of up to 60 mph are expected to cause whiteout conditions.
Low temperatures are expected to drop into the mid and lower 20s, with wind chills even lower.