Local residents were treated to the first real bout of extreme winter weather over the New Years. Most of the state was subjected to sub-zero temperatures throughout Monday and most of Tuesday. This arctic blast came on the heels of warmer weather, creating icy road conditions throughout the region.

Several western counties posted travel advisories, cautioning drivers that high winds and icy conditions posed serious dangers to travelers. There was also a wind chill advisory posted through most of western Minnesota and residents were advised to spend the holiday indoors.

Although most of the 3-4 inches of snow that fell over the weekend was removed by MnDOT trucks before the New Years, nevertheless, strong winds helped kick up the loose snow covering the barren fields, creating near white-out conditions Monday night. Several cars were reported to have crashed, but no injuries have been reported so far.

The strong wind created by the sudden pressure change also helped push temperatures well below December averages. While the low for the Twin Cities hovered at around 0, most of Greater Minnesota reported temperatures ranging from 20 to 40 below.

Despite the colder than expected start to 2019, the weather is projected to improve substantially throughout the week, with highs in the 30’s expected for the weekend.