Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Travel in southwestern Minnesota is nearly impossible today because of blizzard conditions.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced that every major highway in an area west of Mankato is closed, including I-90 and Highway 14. MNDOT is also recommending against any travel in an area of south-central Minnesota just west of Owatonna, while a growing list of roadways in southeastern Minnesota are transitioning from partially to completely covered by snow and ice.

Minnesota Dept. Transportation photo

At last report, the Minnesota State Patrol had responded to nearly 245 storm-related crashes and over 50 vehicle spinouts. About a dozen injuries have been reported, including a couple involving serious injuries. The State Patrol also reported one fatality, a pedestrian-car incident in Medina.

The Rochester area remains under a winter storm warning, beginning at 1 o’clock this afternoon. The National Weather Service has lengthened the warning by another six hours, extending it until 7 pm on Sunday.

Forecasters are still predicting the icy mix of precipitation that began falling last night will transition to all snow this afternoon with 6 to 10 inches of accumulation possible by Sunday evening. Areas north of Rochester, starting in Goodhue County and through the Twin Cities, could end up with 10 to 15 inches of accumulation. The blizzard warning posted yesterday has been expanded west to the I-35 corridor and now includes Albert Lea and Owatonna.

The first day of the storm produced enough rain and snow to set a new precipitation record in Rochester. The National Weather Service says the total was 1.06 inches, which easily beat the previous record of .85 inches set in 1952.

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