Iowa DOT warns travelers of additional interstate closure in Minnesota
AMES, Iowa - In cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (DOT), the Iowa DOT is warning travelers of an additional interstate closure in that state. The Iowa DOT is also reminding motorists of the blizzard warnings and wind chill advisories posted for Iowa that will make travel hazardous.
Minnesota interstate closures
At 2 p.m. this afternoon, the Minnesota DOT and Minnesota State Patrol closed the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 between St. Charles to Dover due to a multi-vehicle crash, which is related to the blizzard conditions. This section of I-90 will remain closed until further notice.
Earlier this afternoon, Minnesota closed southbound Interstate 35 from Owatonna to Albert Lea due to blizzard conditions, zero visibility and numerous crashes. This section of I-35 through Minnesota will also remain closed until further notice.
Minnesota DOT advises that motorists do not travel in southeast and south central Minnesota , unless absolutely necessary. A blizzard warning remains in effect for those parts of the state until midnight tonight.
Motorists in Minnesota should plan alternate routes accordingly. When a road is closed in Minnesota it is illegal to travel in that area. Motorists can be fined up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. In addition, if travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties will apply.
The National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings for Iowa that will remain in effect through this evening and wind chill advisories through Wednesday morning. The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) is warning drivers to take extra precautions when traveling today and Wednesday. In partnership with the Minnesota DOT, the Iowa DOT is also sharing information for travelers intending to travel in that state.
Iowa road conditions
High winds and snow (heavy at times) are presently reducing visibility in north central and central Iowa. Conditions will be further hampered by nightfall. The Iowa State Patrol is not recommending travel at this time in much of these areas, including portions of I-35 from Story City to the Minnesota border.
A blizzard warning remains in effect through this evening for most of north central and northeast Iowa, and wind chill advisories until Wednesday morning for most of the state. These conditions will make travel very hazardous.
For persons intending to travel from Iowa to Minnesota on I-35 should consider postponing their trip; or if en route, seeking shelter at a rest area, truck stop, motel, or other traveler service. Rest areas are located on I-35 near Dows near milepost 159, and at the Top of Iowa near milepost 214.
With this winter weather event, Iowa and Minnesota DOT officials urge drivers to evaluate the necessity of each trip and travel at another time if possible. Road condition information is available on the Internet by visiting 511ia.org for Iowa and 511mn.org for Minnesota . Dialing 511 when in either state will provide state-specific travel details.
If you must travel during this winter weather event, please consider the following recommendations.
Fill your gas tank . Before traveling in winter weather, always keep your gas tank nearly full and make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition.
Use your vehicle's safety equipment . Your headlights are a valuable asset when driving in winter weather. Turn them on to see and be seen. Always wear your seatbelt and demand that all passengers also buckle up.
Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle . This kit should contain items to help sustain your life should your vehicle become stranded. These items can include: a cell phone, booster cables, candles and matches, a flashlight with fresh batteries, extra blankets and warm clothes, non-perishable food items, a can for melting water and a snow shovel.
Use caution when approaching or following a snowplow.
The Iowa Department of Transportation will be monitoring road conditions and issuing additional alerts, as warranted.