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CROOKSTON, Minn. - Blinding snow has closed dozens of schools and at least two highways in northwestern Minnesota where firefighters rescued a stranded motorist.

Strong wind and heavy snow combined to create whiteout conditions. Authorities advised against traveling.

Crookston, Alexandria and Fergus Falls are among school districts who told students to stay home Thursday.

Two jackknifed semis on Interstate 94 between Alexandria and Osakis prompted MnDOT to shut down that portion of the highway from mid-morning to early afternoon.

Morris recorded a wind gust of 52 mph just before noon while Appleton had a gust of 49 mph.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says Highway 2 was closed from Crookston to East Grand Forks, N.D., as well as Highway 200 between the state line and Highway 75 near Halstad.

Two Kennedy firefighters rescued a driver stranded on Highway 11 after he ran off the road and ran out of gas early Thursday.

The National Weather Service issued several blizzard warnings leading up to the storm.

In South Dakota , a crash that involved more than 20 vehicles on Interstate 90 near Humboldt blocked the westbound lanes of that road. Troopers will make an announcement when that stretch of Interstate 90 is open again.

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