Minnesota Department of Transportation snowplow operators are working to clear roads in southwest Minnesota as temperatures continue to drop.

Minnesota Department of Transportation snowplow operators are working to clear roads in southwest Minnesota as temperatures continue to drop.  Currently, roads are partially covered with snow.  Some areas are experiencing blowing snow.  MnDOT encourages motorists to turn their headlights on while it is snowing.

During or after the snowfall, vehicle tires pack down snow on the road.  If the temps are below freezing, the compacted snow freezes and forms a layer of ice.  As more snow falls, the cycle continues and the layer of ice thickens.  Trucks continue to plow, but the blade is less effective on compacted snow.  

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Warning as temperatures are expected to fall and northwest winds increase this evening.  Wind chill values will drop into the 25 to 45 degree below zero range.

Salt melts snow and ice when temperatures are below freezing, but it loses its effectiveness as temperatures drop.  Chemicals do not work well when temps fall below 15 degrees.  Sand increases traction and is used in extreme cold when salt is less effective.  Salt is used primarily at intersection and on ramps.

The public can view winter road conditions from plow cameras available through the 511mn.org website.  Please note that not all plows have cameras.  Road conditions on major highways can also be viewed through the Road Weather Information System (RWIS), which is also part of 511.

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