Road conditions remain difficult in Minn.

Conditions on Eastbound 94 in St. Paul
Conditions on Eastbound 94 in St. Paul, Minn. on Feb. 22, 2014.
MPR News / Curtis Gilbert

Road conditions remain difficult across most of the eastern half of Minnesota more than a day after a storm dumped snow totals ranging from 6 to 18 inches.

The State Patrol said there have been 964 crashes since the storm began, and it is urging drivers to "err on the side of caution and stay home" if they can.

Twin Cities highways remain caked with ice. Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said the snow started out wet, and got heavy just in time for cars to pack it down during rush hour. Then temperatures dropped, bonding the compacted snow to the pavement.

"In December of 2012, we had a similar situation, but we didn't get as much snow. I was talking to a snow plow operator today, who's been with MnDOT for 13 years, and he says he's never seen compaction like this," said Gutknecht.

Road crews are melting the ice with salt and brine, but those chemicals work slowly when temperatures are below 20 degrees, he said.

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