Freezing rain hits Minn., hundreds of accidents follow
Minneapolis (AP) — A night and morning of freezing drizzle and rain coated central and southern Minnesota roads with ice and caused hundreds of accidents including at least two fatal accidents.
The State Patrol says a four-vehicle accident on icy roads near Litchfield around 11 p.m. Saturday night resulted in the death of 44-year-old Kimberley A. Mead of Willmar, who was ejected from one of the cars. Two other women in the same car are listed in critical condition.
In Stearns County, the sheriff's office says a 12-year-old girl from Long Prairie was riding in a pickup truck that lost control on an icy road and went into a ditch about 10 a.m. Sunday. The girl was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. She died a short time later at Melrose Area Hospital.
The precipitation hit the Twin Cities metro area around 10 p.m. Saturday night causing dozens of accidents on freeways and side streets. Roads were still slick Sunday and the National Weather Service says freezing drizzle could continue into Sunday night.
And though it may not look like it, the State Patrol says the roads are as dangerous as they were during last week's snowstorm. Capt. Matt Langer said if you must drive today, assume everything is slick.
"What we want motorists to do is consider everything to be icy," Lander said. "If it looks wet, assume that it's ice. Because oftentimes, even though it looks as wet as can be, it's absolutely black ice."
Langer said in the metro, side streets are extremely dangerous because they're the last to be treated.
A spokesman for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport tells WCCO-AM in Minneapolis that all runways at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were closed from about midnight to 5 a.m. Sunday but that they have re-opened.
Airport spokesman Pat Hogan says he doesn't expect more problems Sunday.
"We have a crew that's out there and ready to deal with whatever comes down," Hogan said. "It's always a lot tougher to deal with ice than it is to deal with snow."
Hogan said it took longer than expected to remove a thick layer of ice from airplanes this morning, and that's what caused some cancellations and delays.
(MPR reporters Matt Sepic and Rupa Shenoy contributed to this report.)
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)