Southeastern Minnesota prepares for winter storm - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Southeastern Minnesota prepares for winter storm

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Rochester area has fortunately escaped much of the blizzard-like weather Tuesday that is hitting northern areas such as Duluth.  However, those who have travel plans to or from the Twin Cities Wednesday will be seeing snow.

With winter weather knocking on the doors of southeastern Minnesota, many officials are preparing for the weeks ahead.

"Obviously we're getting a lot of rain that's going to be happening in the next day, day and half, where we are going to have a little bit of a freeze down so we're definitely going to be treating these roads with salt to get rid of the wet and make sure the public has a safe driving surface to drive on," said Robert Laganki of the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The weather settling here in the Rochester area is normally expected for this time of year, but these conditions can cause more trouble on the roads then some of the most severe blizzards.

"Ice is the worst, it's hard to see, it causes an instant loss and it keeps you from getting traction on the road itself where we have to constantly be treating. It's very costly for the state," added Laganki.

Northern Minnesota is facing some more severe weather, with snow accumulating up to nine inches, with possibly two feet of snow or more by Wednesday.

Four fatal crashes on Monday have the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and MnDOT officials warning motorists to plan ahead and be cautious while on the road.

"I think people need to remember, we live in Minnesota, it's time to put your winter driving cap back on," said Laganki.  "Road conditions will obviously change within minutes, temperatures now are starting to drop below zero or below freezing point I should say, where ice can occur."

Drivers should adjust to driving conditions such as slippery roads and dangerous ice in the coming weeks.

According to the Department of Public Safety, in 2012 there were nearly 6,000 winter crashes, resulting in 28 deaths and over 3,000 injuries.

To help prepare for that blustery weather, Minnesota DPS says to avoid unnecessary travel, buckle up, drive at safe speeds and to have a safe stop distance between vehicles.

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