Freezing drizzle late Sunday followed by snow early Monday gave Brainerd area motorists — and motorists across the state — this season’s first real test for winter driving.
Though only a couple of inches fell in the Brainerd area, Brainerd State Patrol Capt. Sean Meagher said his troopers were busy Monday attending to both vehicles in ditches and crashes.
In one case, it was a State Patrol trooper who was the victim, Meagher said.
The trooper had been stopped for a crash on Highway 169 near Pease in Mille Lacs County when his vehicle was struck by another motorist, Meagher said. The trooper was in his vehicle when the collision happened and was not seriously injured, he said.
“That kind of stuff is avoidable,” Meagher said. “It was a relatively flat stretch of road with lots of visibility — more than enough time for the driver to react and slow down. For whatever reason that didn’t happen.”
The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported fair driving conditions with treated roadways Monday in the Brainerd area. However, MnDOT advised motorists to watch for snow and icy patches.
Meagher said drivers need to remember to pay attention, slow down and lengthen their following distance to increase their chances of avoiding collisions.
“Slow down. That’s the cure for just about everything on an icy, snowy day,” Meagher said.
Snow totals reports to the National Weather Service offices in Duluth and Chanhassen showed Remer with 4 inches, Brainerd with 2.4 inches, Palisade with 1.8 inches, Onamia with 1.1 inches and Little Falls with 1 inch.
Though temperatures are expected to reach the mid 30s by Wednesday, Roman Berdes, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said Monday’s snow should stick around a while.
“It depends on how much sun we get and it looks like we could get some,” Berdes said. “On the blacktop and in sidewalks the snow will probably melt but on the grass it will probably linger.”
Monday’s snow could be the most the Brainerd area receives for a while. Berdes said quick-moving clipper systems from Canada could bring a chance of light snow — maybe an inch at most. He said that’s all that’s in the immediate forecast.
“Right now I’m not very confident of any system bringing anything significant,” Berdes said.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at 855-5857 or email@example.com.