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Northland Shakes Off Early Morning Ice

Updated: 01/12/2014 10:35 PM
Created: 01/12/2014 10:59 AM WDIO.com

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Slipping, sliding, and spinning was all Northland drivers could do after steady rain turned to glare ice Sunday morning. Rising temperatures and road crews throwing salt cleared the ice by afternoon, but the morning mess made for countless crashes.

Even the weight of a semi was no match for the icy hills of Duluth. Duluth Police ordered limited travel Sunday morning. Officers responded to 65 crashes or stalled vehicles in the city while state troopers helped at over 60 more incidents in Northeastern Minnesota.

Drivers on county roads were being more cautious according Highway Superintendent Kevin McConnell.

“Just a lot of people driving slow and trying to stay on the road. A lot of people have bad tires, but I mean even on this stuff good tires don't help. They're just slipping and sliding,” McConnell said.

Duluth Transit Authority bus service was suspended from about 10 a.m. to noon due to the ice, but McConnell said warming temperatures and flinging salt helped break roads free from the icy grip.

“We're just putting down a bunch of salt and sand, a 50-50 mix. Get that salt to kick in and it doesn't take much at these temperatures and the temperatures are coming up now,” McConnell said.

The thaw led to slick slush, but it was manageable for families that wanted to get out and enjoy the weather at Chester Bowl.

“Today's their first race of the season so we weren't going to miss it,” Anne Javaherian said.

The mother of two young skiers said the trek paid off.

“Definitely worth it because it's beautiful now. It's warm. I'm not wearing a jacket. It's a gorgeous day,” Javaherian said.

And the Northlanders said this small slippery spell wasn't bad compared to past storms.

“Oh I've seen much worse than this where power lines start coming down with the thickness of the ice on it and trees and stuff,” McConnell said.

He said the temperatures will dip again overnight so some patches of road could refreeze. That is a frustration all Northlanders are familiar with.

“We live in Duluth. You've got to expect rough winter conditions and you have to account for it,” Javaherian said.

As of 5 p.m., a Mn/DOT map showed fair travel conditions in Duluth, but difficult conditions on I-35 south of Cloquet. Road conditions were listed as good in the Twin Cities.

Click here to see the latest road conditions

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