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Brainerd declares a snow emergency: Snow continues to fall in lakes area

This semi-trailer went off Highway 371 about two miles north of Pine River this morning. Roads are snow-covered throughout the area. Denton Newman Jr. / Brainerd Dispatch1 / 2
Snow falls steadily during the Thursday morning commute at the intersection of Highway 371 and Crow Wing County Highway 48 in Baxter. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch2 / 2

Morning commuters were challenged Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Brainerd lakes area with snow-covered and icy roadways.

Snow totals reported at 8 a.m. to the National Weather Service in Duluth included 8 inches near Federal Dam, 7.5 inches in Baxter and 5.7 inches near Crosslake and East Gull Lake.

Brainerd city staff will plow streets throughout the day Thursday and the city declared a snow emergency effective, Friday.

"It is anticipated to snow all day, so plows will continue to work on snow emergency routes and other significant thoroughfares within the city," City Engineer Paul Sandy said in a news release. "City staff will plow the entire city Friday with clean-up on east-west streets on commencing on Saturday along with snow removal in the downtown business district."

Snow plowing will commence at 5 a.m. Friday on the following streets:

• All snow emergency routes.

• All north—south streets or streets generally running north-south.

Snow plowing will commence at 7 a.m. Saturday on the following streets:

• Cleanup on east west streets and snow hauling in downtown district.

The city stated if a person parks their vehicle Friday on an east-west street it will be plowed around. Vehicles parked on snow emergency routes will be issued a $25 ticket and will be towed at the owner's expense.

Parking is banned starting Friday on city streets the day they are scheduled to be plowed until they have been plowed from curb to curb. Vehicles not moved within 48 hours of being plowed around will be towed

Visit Brainerd's website at www.ci.brainerd.mn.us/182/Snow-Emergencies to see maps for

parking restrictions when a snow emergency is declared.

In the downtown business district, snow removal will commence at 3 a.m. Friday. Parking will be banned on the following streets:

• Front Street from South Sixth Street to South Eighth Street.

• Laurel Street from South Sixth Street to South Eighth Street.

• South Seventh Street from Maple Street to Front Street.

Minor cleanup downtown was expected to be performed Thursday. The rest of the snow will be removed and hauled Friday morning. Parking is banned on streets until they have been plowed in their entirety. All vehicles parked will be ticketed and towed at the owners' expense.

Low visibility and compaction create difficult driving in central Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Transportation advises no unnecessary travel in most Central Minnesota counties due to low visibility, slippery roads and a large number of crashes. The advisory includes Stearns, Todd, Morrison, Wright, Benton, Sherburne, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Crow Wing, Wadena counties and surrounding areas.

“We’re seeing dozens of cars in the ditch or involved in crashes this morning and early afternoon, including one crash where a snowplow was rear-ended near Pease,” said Domingo Aguilar, maintenance operations superintendent, in a news release. “We’re asking those who can delay travel to do so, and those who must travel to simply slow down, and work together to ensure emergency workers and everyone on the road get to their destination safely.”

Most roads in central Minnesota are covered with snow and compacted snow, with areas of ice. High rates of snowfall and low visibility are expected to continue through this afternoon, with low visibility, blowing and drifting snow continuing into Friday morning.

MnDOT has no intention of pulling snowplows from state highways during the snow event, a department spokesman said.

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org.

Snow keeps coming

The National Weather Service in Duluth reported widespread snow was to continue Thursday, with a lull in the precipitation rates this morning before the snow intensifies again in the afternoon.

The weather service placed Crow Wing, Aitkin and Cass counties in a winter weather advisory in effect until 9 p.m. Thursday; and also in a hazardous weather outlook, with wind chills expected to come.

People should plan on slippery road, patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. The cold wind chills as low as 25 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

In Brainerd Thursday, temperatures are expected to fall to around 6 degrees by 5 p.m., with a north wind of 10-15 mph, with wind gusts as high as 30 mph. Total snow accumulation is between 3-5 inches. Thursday night there is a 40 percent chance of snow, mainly before 8 p.m. Patchy blowing snow will continue, with a low of 14 below zero. Wind chill values will be around 20-30 below zero.

Friday's high is 2 below zero, with wind chill values between 25-35 below zero.