Updated: 01/12/2014 10:35 PM
Created: 01/12/2014 10:59 AM WDIO.com
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.
Schroeder's Iditarod Run Inspires Learning in the Northland
Northlander Nathan Schroeder and his sled dog team continued their grueling journey across the Iditarod course in Alaska this weekend. The race leader was expected to finish on Monday, but Schroeder was running in 25th place. Still, students in his home town are learning a lot by cheering him on.
Northland Teens Dance Against Cancer
Northland teens participated in the Eighth Annual Dancing Against Cancer Dance Showcase on Sunday. The event has raised over $15,000 for St. Jude's in the last seven years.
Shamrock Shufflers Pub Hop Along 2.8-Mile Run
The Duluth Running Company Shamrock Shuffle covered 2.8 miles and four pubs on Sunday. Participants weren't racing for a title, but for pints. The run ended at Dubh Linn Irish Pub with live outdoor music.
Angels for a Cause
A crowd gathered in Duluth on Sunday to make snow angels for a good cause. Profits from the event went to Lutheran Social Services to help them build the Center for Changing Lives, a new center for homeless youth in Duluth.
New York Folk Artist Visits Sacred Heart
New York-based folk singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky performed at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth on Sunday.