Ice storm warnings canceled for NE Minn.by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth, Minn. — (AP) - Duluth and other northern Minnesota communities had braced for an ice storm by closing schools, libraries and even the Lake Superior Zoo.
But the National Weather Service canceled its ice storm warnings Monday night for the Duluth area, the Iron Range, the Arrowhead and the North Shore. It said temperatures had warmed above freezing.
While untreated walks and roadways in the area were still slippery, the weather service said, additional ice accumulations were not expected.
The city of Duluth sent out notices just before 2 p.m. Monday asking residents to avoid or limit travel until the storm passed.
Road crews were out in advance of the storm, spreading salt to prevent the freezing rain from bonding to the roads.
Elsewhere in northern Minnesota, the Red Cross opened a shelter at a community center in Biwabik for anyone who might lose power if the ice coated the power lines.
Volunteers began setting it up Sunday night, stockpiling cots, blankets and supplies for at least 50 people.
"Anyone who needs help, if they've lost power, if they're scared, elderly, it's open to everybody," said volunteer Verne Wagner.
Seven or eight snowplows slid into ditches in the Bemidji area, and one rolled onto its side after sliding off a highway near Wannaska, said Lynn Eaton, district engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation in Bemidji.
"We're pretty much telling people to call first if they've got something scheduled. It makes no sense to go out in this," said Beryl Wernberg, emergency management director for Beltrami County, which includes Bemidji.
Wernberg said many vehicles slid into ditches through the day but there were no serious injuries.
In western Minnesota, both westbound lanes of Interstate 94 east of Alexandria were closed for about 6 hours early Monday when a semi rolled over on the icy road and blocked the highway. It reopened at about 8:15 a.m.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
- All Things Considered, 02/09/2009, 5:49 p.m.