Posted at: 02/20/2014 4:12 PM
Updated at: 02/20/2014 10:49 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- The road conditions are so bad, two counties have pulled even their plows and clearly if they can’t even drive, absolutely no one should be out there. In the first two hours of the snow storm there were 28 cars off of the road near Rochester and 9 rollovers.
In the 11 county district MnDOT had all of its more than 100 plows out in the first hour of this winter storm. Even plow operators are helping with cars going off the roads. "If our drivers come across a crash, they will render aid in and check on the person to see if they need a dry place to sit until state patrol comes," said Mike Dougherty with MnDOT
That team effort has been seen across the board. "You'll hear the patrol officer and fire folks saying, 'hey we need sand," so then MnDOT and the county highway, city crews are right on the same radio channels saying they’ll come by," said Kevin Torgerson with Olmsted County Emergency Management.
At only about 3 hours into this, Olmsted County pulled a majority of its plows off the roads, Mower County pulled all of them because they couldn’t even see the roads. Bus services have also pulled the plug. "This is the first time we've sent buses home early in 32 years," said Christian Holter with Rochester City Lines. They brought drivers in early and Smart Transit stopped their services all together in Albert Lea, Austin, and Owatonna.
"Just hear the warning, it’s going to get really bad," said Torgerson.
If the buses and plows say it’s too dangerous for them, drivers, it’s too dangerous for you. "We're canceling our service so that we can do our best to keep folks safe and we hope they do their part as well," said Holter.
Freeborn and Mower County American Red Cross are working with emergency managers to make assist community shelters if needed. Also, all flights into and out of Rochester International Airport have been canceled.