SD Interstates Open, Driving Still Difficult
January 7, 2010, 10:13 PM
The interstate will remain closed in Minnesota Thursday night from the South Dakota border to Albert Lea. The final stretch of Interstate 90 from Mitchell to Sioux Falls opened at 7:30 Thursday night, but the driving conditions are still treacherous.
Even though the interstates are open the wind can change those conditions on a dime. When the Department of Public Safety announced that the interstates were open they said driving conditions were still, "extremely difficult." And while some of the driving lanes on the interstate in South Dakota may look clear the Highway Patrol is warning that they won't stay that way for long.
"Even the open roads are dangerous with this type of weather because the wind is constantly blowing and the snow is constantly drifting over the roadways," South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper Devrin Clark said.
Clark responded to drivers sliding into the ditch all day Thursday. But, now that the temperatures are dropping, getting caught up on the roads can be dangerous and even deadly.
"We're dealing with cold weather, but this is extreme cold weather where there's negative temperatures in the negative 25 to the negative 40 range," Clark said.
And with white out conditions, and the extreme cold, if you do get stuck, Clark says stay in your car and wait for help.
"You can get disoriented, lose your position, lose your vehicle and now you are stuck out in the extreme bitter cold, that's not safe for anybody," Clark said.
Because even though the roads are open it doesn't mean driving is going to be easy.
"Pay attention to your roadway and the other vehicles that are around you because there's hidden dangers everywhere you look." Clark said.
But, the Highway Patrol is thanking travelers in South Dakota because they have been heading the warnings and using good judgement by staying off the roads during this storm and the Christmas blizzard. But, drivers should keep it up because with temperatures hovering around ten degrees below zero, and wind chills even worse you definitely don't want to be stuck out in the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.