Winter Storm Xanto Brings Blizzard Conditions, Creating a Travel Nightmare

Winter Storm Xanto Brings Blizzard Conditions, Creating a Travel Nightmare

Winter Storm Xanto continued its eastwardly trek Saturday with blizzard conditions that have shut down interstates and prompted officials to warn people to stay home.

On Saturday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation advised no travel in all of Murray and Pipestone counties in southwestern Minnesota and portions of Lyon and Lincoln counties due to limited visibility and blizzard conditions.

The announcement comes a day after the South Dakota Department of Transportation announced the closure of Interstate 90 from Rapid City to Mitchell – a stretch of nearly 300 miles, as well as the closure of Interstate 29 from the North Dakota border to Brookings.

Authorities have issued a no travel advisory for Sioux Falls until the snowfall and wind subside.

Winter Storm Xanto Brings Blizzard Conditions, Creating a Travel Nightmare

As of right now, visibility is currently near zero and the worst is yet to come. Minnehaha County Highway Department has pulled all snow plows off the highways due to the current conditions.

Snow removal crews are expected to be out in full force on Sunday, starting at 6 a.m.

Sioux Falls regional airport was closed Friday and will remain so until Saturday night, the AP reports. Meanwhile, more than 200 flights, or a quarter of all flights flying in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, have been canceled.

In a Facebook post, the South Dakota Highway Patrol warned drivers that secondary roads might not be an option if interstates get shut down.

“Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route,” the agency said. “If you travel, wear a seatbelt. Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car and a charged cell phone with location turned on in your car, but don’t rely on the phone to get you out of trouble. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.”

In Minnesota, where the Twin Cities have dealt with several recent winter storms, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum delayed the yearly spring cleanup again because of Xanto, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

“We’re more than two and a half weeks behind normal,” Alan Branhagen, director of operations at the arboretum, told the Star Tribune.

The Minnesota Twins’ weekend series at home against the Chicago White Sox was postponed for a second day Saturday, the AP reports.

The storm will continue to bring locally heavy snowfall and gusty winds, says meteorologist Linda Lam.

“In some locations winds gust up to 65 mph are possible and when combined with the snow will significantly reduce visibility. Travel will be dangerous to impossible in many locations from northwestern Kansas and eastern Colorado into southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa, where blizzard warnings have been issued,” Lam added.

Mary Greeley News