The spring snowstorm is being blamed for more than 700 accidents across Minnesota on Thursday. The State Patrol responded to a total of 296 crashes as well as 440 vehicles that either spun out or went off the road between 5am and 4pm Thursday. Officials say that 39 of those accidents involved injuries, but nobody was seriously hurt or killed. Those figures do not include accidents that were only handled by local law enforcement agencies. New Ulm received over 10-inches of snow through the course of the storm.
Governor Dayton has declared a state of emergency after the snowstorm that struck southern Minnesota. Dayton signed the emergency executive order Thursday. It exempts trucks and drivers transporting supplies and materials to areas hit by the storm from state regulations regarding hours of service. Drivers providing emergency relief efforts still need to follow other safety regulations. Dayton had earlier activated the state National Guard to help Minnesotans dealing with the storm as well. An ice storm knocked out power to thousands of people in southwestern Minnesota this week after around 8 inches of wet snow fell on top of a thick layer of ice.
The power is still out in several communities in southwestern Minnesota. Ice and heavy snow downed numerous power lines and trees in the region, and the town of Worthington has been running on backup diesel power since Wednesday as rolling blackouts continue. Many Worthington residents have been unable to go to work because industry and manufacturing has been shut down, and many rural areas still have no power whatsoever. Officials said on Thursday it could be up to another 48 hours before power is fully restored. Crews continue to work on a main transmitter outside of Worthington that was heavily damaged in Wednesday’s ice storm, and teams from several other regional utilities are on the scene to help out, including crews from the Brown County REA.