“Freezing rain is one of our largest challenges that we face.”
MnDot District 7 Maintenance Engineer Jed Falgren said with a mix of freezing rain and snow in the forecast for the next two days in parts of southern Minnesota, road conditions are expected to be dangerous at times. “It’s obviously creating some very slick and very difficult travel conditions. We’ve got crews out, but it will take some time and as the freezing rain continues to fall it’s going to be best for motorists to probably find some alternative travel plans – which probably includes just staying home or allowing a lot of extra time to get to where they need to go,” he stated.
While the rain turned over to snowfall before midday, the National Weather Service says warmer air aloft could create the same conditions and more freezing rain followed by snow on Tuesday. A winter weather advisory is in place until 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.
Falgren said, “We are going to be busy, certainly, throughout today and tomorrow. It sounds like we will have a little bit of snow on top of this; it depends on how much rain comes first but we’re certainly prepared and ready for anything.”
The National Weather Service predicts a quarter of an inch of ice in the New Ulm area and one-tenth of an inch in the Mankato area. One to three inches of snow is expected.
Falgren said the ice presents a slightly different challenge than a significant snowfall and, “It’s very difficult to get any of traction; even in some types of snow, you can still get some reasonable traction but in this case you can very quickly go from standing up to falling down on the sidewalk and it’s not any different from your car.”
The lack of traction, he added, makes it tougher to treat the roads and, “It takes a lot longer for our crews to get around and get the chemical on the road surfaces and it’s certainly that much more difficult for drivers as well.”
He suggested that people in south central Minnesota that don’t have to travel should consider staying home Monday.