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Winter's icy grasp: freezing rain leads to slick roads, school closures

A van sits stuck on Cedar Street around 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16 after freezing rain covered Red Wing. (submitted photo)

Freezing rain and snow led to slick road conditions throughout the area Monday evening, Jan. 16 into Tuesday morning. Area school districts canceled school and related activities Tuesday due to the conditions, in addition to postponing school activities that were scheduled for Monday evening.

According to Goodhue County Sheriff's Office reports, the department responded to roughly 20 calls for assistance related to icy roads. More than half of the calls were for vehicles stuck in the roadway or vehicles sliding off the road. There was one report of a lowered power line on County Road 11 in Pine Island Township.

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Red Wing police responded to a dozen crashes during the storm and reported three problem areas in town. Police Chief Roger Pohlman said no travel was advised on Cedar Street, Minnesota Street and West Avenue because of multiple reports of sliding, crashing and salt trucks having difficulty navigating the steeper roadways.

"On days like this we appreciate the assistance from our citizens to slow down and stay off the roads," Pohlman said. "With the amount of ice we experienced, we could have easily had more than 12 crashes."

Cedar Street was shut down for the evening after authorities responded to five vehicles stuck on the steep hill. Pohlman said although a barricade was in place, a driver tried to maneuver around the closure and ended up colliding with a stuck vehicle in the process.

The storm started with slightly more than half an inch of rain, followed by three-quarters of an inch of snow, as measured at U.S. Lock & Dam No. 3.

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