A 300-mile stretch of Interstate 90 reopened across Minnesota and South Dakota on Sunday morning after high winds and blowing snow forced authorities to close it for the night.
"It's pretty open territory and the wind really blows," said Rebecca Arndt, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation in Mankato, Minn.
The freeway was shut down Saturday afternoon from Albert Lea, Minn., to Chamberlain, S.D. Authorities lifted the gates Sunday and let travelers back onto I-90 at 7:30 a.m. in Minnesota and at 8 a.m. across South Dakota, Arndt said.
Still, Arndt said, authorities were warning travelers to use extreme caution because there were still slippery spots and drifting.
The high winds whipped up a few inches newly fallen snow, and the resulting poor visibility forced MnDOT to pull its plows off the roads in the storm area of southern and western Minnesota on Saturday. Windom in southwestern Minnesota recorded wind gusts of 58 mph and sustained winds of 41 mph on Saturday, Arndt said.
The plows headed back out Sunday morning, she said.
Wind chills at 9 a.m. were mostly in the 20 below to 30 below range, with a low wind chill of 48 below in Fairmont in south-central Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service.
The winds died down considerably across most of the state as the day went on, and at 3 p.m. the coldest wind chills were 23 below at the Grand Marais airport, and 22 below at Cambridge and Austin.
Actual temperatures were in the single digits above and below zero across most of the state.
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