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Snow and wind wreak havoc on Minnesota roads

Crashes littered interstates and highways across the metro during the morning drive, and posts from greater Minnesota describe conditions as treacherous.

MINNEAPOLIS — As far as snow events go, the winter storm that blew into Minnesota late Tuesday into early Wednesday is not going to be one for the record books. 

But as many drivers and safety officials will tell you, it's not just the amount of snow, it's the other stuff that comes with it. Gusty winds and plunging temps created slippery, treacherous conditions across much of the state, including the Twin Cities metro where the morning commute was an absolute mess. 

Driving remains a challenge in many areas. As of 11 a.m. the State Patrol says troopers responded to 175 crashes statewide, with two fatalities and 10 injuries deemed to be non-life threatening. Nearly 200 additional vehicles spun out or ran off the road, and eight semi-truck jackknifes were reported.

KARE 11 traffic reporter Alicia Lewis reports that as of 8 a.m. roads are partially to completely covered with snow across the metro, and wind gusts are reducing visibility, making it hard for plow drivers to do their jobs. She posted tweets all morning of crashes that closed lanes and brought traffic to a crawl. 

"People just going way too fast for the conditions," she opined. 

Lewis noted that a 3-car wreck on westbound I-94 really jammed things up for morning commuters heading towards Minneapolis from St. Paul and the eastern suburbs. She would suggest alternative routes... if some actually existed. 

"Unfortunately it looks like a SLOW commute on all of the major highways and interstates… there are no faster shortcuts/detours today!," Lewis said. 

It's not just Twin Cities drivers that are being impacted. State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow posted a video from northwestern Minnesota illustrating the impact of the snow and wind on visibility. 

"Video doesn’t do it justice. There are now 3 semis & 1 passenger vehicle in the median now," Grabow said on Twitter. 

In fact, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) says no travel is advised on Highway 2 from East Grand Forks to Crookston in northwestern Minnesota due to high winds and blowing snow causing no visibility. Snowplows will continue to operate, but motorists are advised not to travel until conditions improve. 

For the latest on road conditions check out the KARE 11 Traffic page, or MnDOT's 511 site, which includes live road and plow cams, and the latest travel advisories. 

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