NEW?ULM - Schools throughout Minnesota sent students home early on Wednesday as the winter winds howled and created white-out conditions and hazardous driving.
New Ulm closed schools at 11 a.m., and declared a two-hour late start for today. Sleepy Eye schools also closed.
The white-out conditions prompted the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to close U.S. Highway 71 between U.S. Highway 14 (Sanborn corner) and State Highway 60 at Windom at 12:48 p.m. Wednesday.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Staff from Jefferson Elementary School in New Ulm guide students to buses just before 11 a.m. Wednesday. Many area schools opted for early dismissals on Wednesday due to blizzard conditions and dangerous wind chill readings.
No travel was advised by MnDOT in southwest Minnesota Wednesday morning and afternoon due to blowing snow and near zero visibility.
Today's forecast predicted a high of minus 2. Forecasters called for a morning wind chill reading of minus 40. However, temperatures are expected in rise into the lower 20s overnight.
Icy conditions caused a few automobile accidents on New Ulm streets Wednesday.
When travel conditions improve, MnDOT reminded motorists to:
Check road conditions at www.511mn.org or call 511.
Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve roads.
Stay back at least five car lengths behind plows, far from the snow cloud trailing plow trucks.
Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently or travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to improve road conditions.
Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.