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Lovely but treacherous - Heavy snow blankets area, creates hazardous driving conditions

A spring snowstorm covered trees with a heavy, wet snow and created slushy, icy roads in a snowfall that was beautiful but dangerous. About 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 26, the Brainerd Police Department reported a crash at Highway 210 and Cass County...

A spring snowstorm covered trees with a heavy, wet snow and created slushy, icy roads in a snowfall that was beautiful but dangerous.

About 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 26, the Brainerd Police Department reported a crash at Highway 210 and Cass County Highway 36 was causing traffic delays. There were multiple crashes Monday, the Minnesota State Patrol reported, including several with serious injuries.

"Road conditions continue to be icy, please drive carefully," the Brainerd Police Department stated via its Twitter account. It was a refrain repeated via Crow Wing County, which noted its snowplows would begin plowing at 3 a.m. Tuesday morning. The county pre-treated roads Monday morning in anticipation of the snowfall. Crow Wing, Aitkin and Cass counties remained in a winter weather advisory until 10 p.m. Monday.

Snow continued to fall in the Brainerd lakes area late into Monday afternoon. The storm included patchy freezing drizzle and heavy snow. Snowblowers could be heard in area neighborhoods Monday night with temperatures hovering at the freezing mark about 8 p.m. Surfaces were slick and icy as temperatures began to drop toward an anticipate

Drivers were urged to plan on slippery road conditions, reduced visibility and snowfall ranging from 4-8 inches across the area.

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The National Weather Service in Duluth snowfall reports included 4 inches reported near Fort Ripley, 5.3 inches of snow just north of Brainerd, 5.1 inches in Pillager and 4.5 inches reported near Nisswa. Six inches of snow was reported near Pine River with 7 inches reported in Longville, south of Emily and near Lake Shore.

But warming temperatures should continue the melt with an expected high Tuesday, March 27, of 44 degrees, which is near normal for this time of year.

The Minnesota State Patrol responded to several accidents on icy and snowy roads, including a two-vehicle crash south of Park Rapids that injured three people and a central Minnesota accident that critically injured the driver.

The patrol reported a 2009 Chevy Silverado was southbound on U.S. Highway 71 near BlueBird Drive in Straight River Township in Hubbard County when it lost control at 7:42 a.m., slid sideways into the northbound lane and collided with another vehicle before coming to a rest on its side.

The two Menahga residents inside the Silverado, 50-year-old driver Cathleen Marie Parks and 8-year-old passenger Cassie Ann Parks, both suffered injuries that weren't life-threatening and were brought to CHI St. Joseph's Health in Park Rapids.

Menahga 20-year-old Brittany Marie Burkholder, the driver of the other vehicle, a 2014 GMC Acadia, also suffered injuries that weren't life-threatening and was also treated at the hospital in Park Rapids.

A morning crash in Aitkin County caused life-threatening injuries for the driver, 21-year-old Tyler Ray Sand of McGrath, who was taken to Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin.

The patrol also responded to a 9:38 a.m. head-on crash between an eastbound 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix and a westbound 2018 Freightliner semitrailer on U.S. Highway 10 just east of Wadena. Authorities said the Pontiac moved into the westbound lane to pass a stopped vehicle and collided with the semi.

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The Pontiac driver, 26-year-old Joseph Terrence Labelle of Detroit Lakes, suffered injuries that weren't life-threatening and was taken to Tri-County Health Care in Wadena. Semi driver Chandon Montreal Rozier, 26, and passenger Brandon Dontreal Rozier, 26, both of St. Pauls, N.C., weren't injured.

There is a slight chance of snow and rain Wednesday and again Thursday night into Friday. Temperatures are forecast to hover near freezing for daytime highs into the week, meaning slippery road conditions may continue as snow melts and refreezes.

The latest road conditions for Minnesota can be found at 511mn.org, and for Wisconsin at 511wi.gov, or by calling 511.

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