It finally happened…snow! Minnesota received it’s first snow fall November 18th, 2016. The Alexandria area received 8-10 inches of snow, along with 50 mph winds. Some places, such as Rochester, MN didn’t even see any snow!
Schools closed, businesses closed early and driving conditions were terrible, with white out conditions in some areas. It was recommend not to travel, unless you had to. Just in case you did or do in the future, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has a few tips to stay safe this winter.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety offers a checklist for getting your vehicle prepped for winter weather. Among the suggestions:
• Set the car radio to stations that regularly broadcast weather warnings, traffic reports and instructions. [MPR News station list]
• Stay on designated roads or detours. Avoid shortcuts off main highways, as these may not be plowed or patrolled.
• Assemble an emergency kit and keep it in the vehicle throughout the season.
• Before leaving town, fill your gas tank. While traveling, stop frequently to refill your tank.
Also, just because it snowed, doesn’t make it safe to be out on the lakes! Some lakes don’t even have ice yet! Yesterday, I still saw a boat driving around on a lake in Ottertail County! Please, also remember to be careful when doing this, it’s possible to get hypothermia within minutes of being emerged in the water, or having wet clothing. This what the DNR recommends for going out on the ice:
For new, clear ice only:
2″ or less – STAY OFF
4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5″ – Snowmobile or ATV
8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
12″ – 15″ – Medium truck
Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.
White ice or “snow ice” is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice.