Although speeds are picking up on major highways in Minnesota, many side streets and rural roads still offer a rough ride atop hard-packed ice and crews are still trying to clear the way before new snow falls.
Although Sunday's sunshine did help, many motorists embarked on a third day of icy roads following Thursday's storm and the Minnesota State Patrol was still advising no travel throughout much of the state.
St. Paul Public Works assured city residents that crews were still out in full force on Sunday to clear the compacted snow, and Minneapolis officials began enforcing winter parking restrictions that will remain in effect through April 1.
Since Thursday's storm dropped nearly a foot of snow on the metro area, the Minnesota State Patrol has responded to 1,183 crashes. Of those, 118 involved injuries and one was fatal. Troopers also responded to:
- 75 jack-knifed semis
- 81 motorist assists
- 1,253 stalled vehicles
- 2,568 vehicle-off-road incidents
The road conditions prompted all MSP command staff to suspend daily duties to provide help on state highways while Minnesota Department of Transportation plows keep their blades to the pavement.
"We're receiving reports from veteran troopers in several areas of the state of conditions that are as bad as they've seen in 25 years," said State Patrol Lt. Col. Matt Langer. "We need motorists to avoid traveling unless it's absolutely necessary. It is simply too dangerous right now and MnDOT needs room to clear the roads of snow and ice."
The agency urged motorists to prepare for days of treacherous travel conditions but also asked drivers to practice patience near plows.
Hundreds of people spent the night in shelters following Thursday's storm. Initial reports estimate 252 travelers required an overnight stay at one of the several emergency shelters set up across the state.