OLIVIA, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed state highways stretching from Granite Falls, Montevideo, Marshall and Madison due to severe blowing snow, and the danger even prompted Mn/DOT to pull its own plows off the roads Sunday night.
Renville County saw gusts of 30-40 mile per hour winds and was under a blizzard warning until Sunday at midnight. Dozens of stranded travelers were forced to spend the night in Olivia, due to road closures at Highway 212 and 71.
All 32 rooms were booked at the only local hotel, the Sheep Shedde. Hotel management then began to transport people to the National Guard Armory in Olivia for shelter Sunday night.
"We are having a blizzard party," said Amy Alt, of Chaska, who landed one of the last rooms at the hotel. She was attending a birthday party in Montevideo and says it took her more than two hours just to get from Montevideo to Olivia.
"We couldn't go it alone anymore, you couldn't see if you were on the road or not. We didn't think going down south there would be so much snow. Luckily, I have boots, boots and a gallon of water, but no shovels, like you should have in blizzard conditions," said Alt.
Visibility was reduced to a half mile in the area when nearly a foot of blowing snow began to cover roadways. Sacred Heart in Renville County reported 17.3" of snow with strong winds and and one-block visibility Sunday afternoon.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)