BRITTON, SD -
Blizzard conditions caused poor visibility throughout the northeast Monday, causing some counties to advise no travel.
By afternoon, the sheriff in Marshall County was telling people to stay off the roads unless they absolutely had to leave. Others said the same. White-out conditions and drifts led to those warnings.
Blowing snow reduced visibility in the Britton area. Roads were worse farther north and east in the county.
"Oh they're nasty; they're nasty out there. You can see roughly two to five telephone poles length. It's slippery, snow-packed," blade operator Mike Oelkers said.
Oelkers says he broke through drifts up to six feet tall in places. Some light snow falling Monday added to visibility problems, but strong winds picked up and carried snow already on the ground.
Charley Larson was heading south from Britton into blizzard conditions, but feeling confident with four-wheel-drive. Considering driving conditions have deteriorated multiple times within the past week when wind increases, she's prepared to deal with similar conditions until the snow melts.
"It's half way through February so March will be here soon and so will spring. And at least we're not getting this weather in November," Larson said.
As he cleared snow along his route Monday, Oelkers says visibility was tough for him in the blade and he saw people in the ditch. That's why he told people to stay home on very windy days. He's spent hours clearing roads over the past week, but knows they'll still be tough to pass in places.
"We've been fighting it because when the snow comes like it is now and the wind blows, it just fills back in," Oelkers said.
The highway department has been trying to keep main roads open leading to towns for emergency purposes. But strong winds have made that difficult.
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