Blizzard leads to dozens of rescues along western Minnesota highways

Stranded vehicles along a snowy freeway
Stranded vehicles are seen amid blizzard conditions along Interstate 94 east of Moorhead, Minn., on Wednesday.
Minnesota State Patrol

Blizzard conditions left dozens of motorists stranded and in need of rescue late Tuesday and early Wednesday in western Minnesota.

Interstate 94 between Fergus Falls and Moorhead reopened at noon Wednesday after being closed for more than 12 hours. Road conditions remain icy across the region.

The State Patrol said nearly 100 vehicles were stranded on Interstate 94 east of Moorhead.

And Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting said more than 50 vehicles were stranded on county roads late Tuesday. Deputies and the National Guard — activated by Gov. Tim Walz — spent the night rescuing people.

Empting said the number of vehicles caught in the storm was unusual.

“I’m not sure why people felt the need to not heed the warnings, but they did not,” he said Wednesday. “So it left us with having to do a lot of rescues overnight.”

State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow said some travelers ran out of fuel while waiting to be rescued. He said he's not aware of any motorists who were injured.

Grabow said the situation is a reminder that motorists need to check road conditions before heading out in stormy conditions.

“When it comes to winter driving, I try not to let my vehicle go below half a tank because again, if you end up on the wrong side of a crash somewhere, where maybe you could be sitting there like some of these folks for maybe 12 hours at a time,” he said. “Do you have enough fuel to keep your vehicle running?”

A state trooper responds to a truck off the road
A state trooper responds to a truck off the road along Interstate 94 in western Minnesota amid icy conditions on Wednesday.
Sgt. Jesse Grabow | Minnesota State Patrol

Travel conditions

These state transportation departments offer live updates on road conditions and crashes:

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