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UPDATE 10:15 A.M. Alexandria schools to close early; no unnecessary travel advised; Douglas County under blizzard warning

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news Alexandria, 56308

Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

Alexandria schools are closing two hours early today and no unnecessary travel is being advised in west central Minnesota, including Douglas County, because of blowing snow, reduced visibility, drifting and slippery roads.

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District 206's afternoon pre-school program is also canceled and all community education and ECFE classes are cancelled.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) issued the advisory at 8 a.m. this morning, Monday, for the following counties: Mahnomen, Becker, Clay, Wilkin, Otter Tail, Traverse, Grant, Douglas, Pope, Stevens, Big Stone and Swift.

Douglas County is also under a blizzard warning from the National Weather Service. The warning is in effect until midnight tonight for much of west central and south central Minnesota. The warning is mainly west of a line from Alexandria to Litchfield to Owatonna. Visibilities are down to less than one quarter of a mile in rural areas and open country.

Besides District 206's early closing, the only other school cancellation in Douglas County as of 10:15 a.m., was Lakes Area Charter School in Osakis, which will close at 10:30 a.m. today. (Osakis public schools were closed today because of a scheduled quarter break.)

The senior nutrition centers in Hoffman, Kensington and Elbow Lake are closed today and no meals on wheels will be delivered.

Today's forecast calls for snow and widespread blowing snow throughout the day with temperatures falling to around 11 by 5 p.m. Wind chill values will drop the temperatures between -2 and -10. The storm is accompanied by a blustery northwest wind between 26 and 29 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. A total daytime snow accumulation of one to two inches is possible, according to the National Weather Service.

MnDOT said that no closures of interstate highways or other roads are anticipated at this time; however, motorists may encounter brief lane closures where crashes occur.

Mn/DOT snow plow operators are out in force and will continue to make highways safe.

Mn/DOT reminds motorists to follow safe winter driving practices, including:

--Plan ahead - give yourself extra time to travel.

--Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals.

--Drive slowly - lower speeds help drivers avoid crashes and minimize those that occur.

--Keep a safe stopping distance between vehicles - Leave extra room between your vehicle and snow plows or other removal equipment.

--Always use seat belts.

--Adjust speed to road and weather conditions.

--Avoid using cruise-control.

--Turn on headlights when it is sleeting or snowing.

For updated road information, call 511 or click on www.511mn.org.

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