Law enforcement: ‘Stay home’

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Interstate 90 is closed this afternoon after several crashes — including one that injured a deputy — and law enforcement is urging travelers to stay off the roads in Mower County.

A system brought sleet and freezing rain overnight, followed by a few inches of snow and blustery winds today. Those conditions have wreaked havoc on roads, as jack-knifed semis are blocking Interstate 90 near Highway 16, where the interstate is only passable on the shoulder, according to Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi.

“Visibility is about zero there,” she said.

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Amazi said deputies, Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota State Patrol and several rural fire departments are on scene responding to the incident or diverting traffic.

A Mower County Deputy’s squad car was hit and Amazi said he was being transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin with non life-threatening injuries.

She said the interstate will be closed until the vehicles can be cleared.

Amazi said her deputies have been tied up responding to crashes today, and the Lyle Police Department was also responding to a crash on Highway 218.

Amazi had a simple message for area drivers: “Stay home until the wind subsides,” she said.

The Austin Police Department echoed Amazi in post in on its Facebook page urging residents to stay off of Interstate 90.

“I-90 is being closed down due to multiple accidents,” the Austin Police Department Posted on Facebook. “If you go into the ditch your vehicle will remain there until it is safe to remove. PLEASE STAY HOME!”

Along with the several crashes around the area, a winter weather advisory is in effect through 6 p.m. in Mower County. As of 1:45 p.m., the Minnesota department of transportation listed most area state roads as completely covered.

Lyle Public School was closed today.

Several Austin Public Schools sporting events were canceled, including girls basketball at home vs. Mankato East, wrestling in Madelia, boys basketball at Mankato East, and boys swimming and diving at Faribault.

Patchy blowing snow was expected to continue through at least 7 p.m. with 12 to 17 mph winds and 33 mph gusts.

The weather service warned of the potential for another storm system on Wednesday into Thursday when another round of snow was possible. About an inch is expected with that system.