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Ice Storm Creates Dangerous Conditions in Rochester

Posted at: 01/27/2013 10:49 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- The drop in temperature has made roads that were slush a couple hours ago turn back to how they were when freezing rain first came down this afternoon.

"The ice was terrible, I had trouble driving to work. I drove a mile to work and it took me 20 minutes to get to work," said Eric Feehan of Rochester.

This isn't a typical snowstorm that we're used to seeing this time of year, and some drivers don't know how to respond.

"There were drivers out there that were driving pass the speed limit when they should be driving 10 miles per hour under," said Feehan.

"Ice storms are the worst. Where snow you can drive on and still have minimal traction, with ice it completely removes your tires from touching the roadway surface and makes it a complete ice skating rink," said Robert Langanki, MN DOT Operations Supervisor of Rochester.

Langanki hasn't seen a storm like this in more than 2 years. Many drivers lost control of their vehicle today, the ditches of state highways were littered with cars.

"Law enforcement, emergency services have been very busy all day today dealing with multiple accident scenes," said Langanki.

Plows have been working on overdrive to clean the slick roads.

"Salts our biggest alley, and we've been applying and re-applying," said Langanki.

They are using 3 to 4 times more salt than a normal snowstorm.

"Conditions are going to be bad here, be hazardous here until the wee hours of the morning or maybe into tomorrow," said Langanki.

Officials say, if you have to drive, make sure go well below the speed limit.

"The biggest thing is people need to start using their common sense, this is an ice storm and this is a very bad event to deal with, it’s very hazardous conditions," said Langanki.

"The most important thing is to just be cautious of other drivers and I always try to take back roads and never take the highway just to avoid high speech limits," said Feehan.

Now that it's dark outside, it makes it that much difficult for drivers. Roads are becoming icy again and it's hard to see the surface you're driving on. Officials say, if it's possible, hold off driving until tomorrow.