Minnesota Department of Transportation staff are cleaning up after a storm impacted the area February 22.  The majority of roads in southwest and south central Minnesota were completely covered as of this morning.  MnDOT is advising motorists to slow down. 

In addition to clean up efforts, MnDOT staff are preparing for a predicted storm for Saturday, February 24. The National Weather Service is predicting moderate to heavy snow for the area.  Heavy snow could cause difficult travel conditions. Motorists should watch for reduced visibility.

MnDOT reminds motorists that the average snow plow route in District 8 (southwest and west central Minnesota) is 60 miles, round-trip.  Some routes are considerably longer.  In difficult conditions it can take up to four hours for a snow plow operator to plow a route.  In good conditions it can take two and a half hours to plow a route. 

In general, plows are out from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m., longer if conditions require it.  Plow operators have much to monitor and control while on duty, and their ability to see behind them is limited.  Their vision can be hampered by the snow clouds they create while plowing.

Motorists need to reduce distractions.  A plows’ sole purpose is to make the roads as clear and passable as quickly as possible. Motorists should remember to:

• Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.

• Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud.

• Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. Plows may also travel over centerlines or partially into traffic to further improve road conditions.

• Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org.

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Transportation