Walz authorizes Minnesota National Guard to provide shelter for stranded motorists

Walz authorizes Minnesota National Guard to provide shelter for stranded motorists

Updated: December 23, 2020 10:30 PM
Created: December 23, 2020 06:48 AM

UPDATE: As a winter storm continued to impact the state Wednesday night, Gov. Tim Walz authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide emergency services for stranded motorists.

The Guard activated shelters in Renville and Martin counties early in the evening, and is standing by to offer help in other counties, if needed. The Guard said it will use a small unit support vehicle to help rescue stranded motorists in Martin County.

Heavy snow and strong wind made travel conditions dangerous in many parts of the state.

Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota State Patrol officials urged Minnesotans to stay off the roads Wednesday night and Thursday morning due to the dangerous conditions.

As snow is on the way, the weather is undoubtedly starting to look a lot like Christmas. 

KSTP Meteorologist Sam Ryan says the Twin Cities will see an "impressive" amount of snowfall totals between nine to 14 inches possible throughout the state, with the heaviest from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The average amount of snowfall in Minnesota is expected to be around five to eight inches as some isolated areas are possible to see 10 to 14 inches of snow. 

Blizzard warnings have been issued for Carver, Le Sueur, McLeod, Nicollet, Sherburne, Sibley and Wright Counties. A blizzard warning indicates that blizzard conditions are expected.

At 2:00 p.m. the blizzard warning was expanded to include the Twin Cities metro area.

Winter storm warnings have been issued for Dakota, Washington, Anoka, Chisago, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey and Scott Counties.

As for southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a winter advisory has been issued for those counties.

See the latest forecast at KSTP.com

According to the National Weather Service, high winds are expected to develop with wind gusts up to 60 degrees Wednesday afternoon. Whiteout conditions from the snow being blown around are expected and will impact travel. Also, the temperatures will drop into the single digits and teens by 5 p.m. with wind chills dropping below zero.

Due to the temperatures dropping immediately once the snow comes in, the roads are expected to become slick and icy. 

KSTP Meteorologist Wren Clair warns Minnesotans that the slick roadways and blowing snow will be possible in many areas, making for dangerous driving conditions on Wednesday. The extreme cold will also mean road salt won't work optimally, so drivers should be cautious.

Thursday will continue to be cold and windy with the temperature expected to be 8 degrees as the high a -6 as the low. As for Christmas Day and the weekend, temperatures will jump back up to the 20s.

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