NEW ULM - A severe winter storm blew through the area on Sunday, with winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour whipping Sunday's snow into an impenetrable veil that made travel extremely hazardous.
County sheriffs' offices in the area reported numerous accidents and cars going off the road. They recommended no unnecessary travel, and some roads in the area were being closed. In Renville County, where 20 cars were reported to have run off the roads by 4:45 p.m., a dispatcher in the Renville County Sheriff's Office said Highways 71 and 212 were being closed.
Brown County deputies reported whiteout conditions on Highway 14 between New Ulm and Sleepy Eye. An accident on Highway 14 two miles or so west of New Ulm proved challenging for law enforcement and tow trucks. Several cars were also reported going off the road west of Springfield earlier in the afternoon.
Staff photo by Kevin Sweeney
Blowing snow at the base of the Center Street hill in New Ulm on Sunday afternoon created a challenge even for drivers in the city.
Nicollet County was dealing with a reported pileup of vehicles on Highway 15 and Sibley County Road 8 near Lafayette at about 4:45 p.m. Firefighters and an ambulance were called to the scene. A preliminary report from the State Patrol indicated that four vehicles were involved in the personal-injury accident.
A blizzard warning issued by the National Weather Service was in force until midnight Sunday, and a wind chill warning was in effect until noon midday Tuesday.
Temperatures were expected to drop Sunday night and Monday, with a high of minus 8 forecast for Monday, with wind chills dipping down to minus 40. A low temperature of 18 below zero was forecast.
KEYC TV reported more than 50 school closings for Monday.
The closings included Minnesota Valley Lutheran, Sleepy Eye, Springfield, Madelia, Mankato and Lafayette Charter School.
Because District 88 planned an inservice day for staff, New Ulm students were off regardless of the weather.