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Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

Roodt/Syre
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Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

Hi my fellow tripadvisors,

I'm going to be next week ( 7th-11th of February ) in Minneapolis and up north from the twin cities. And well I'm aware of the winter conditions for the moment in your area, but I have a question concerning the roads. I have to drive to Moorhead and Fargo in a midsize SUV, and I was hoping you could maybe tell me how the road conditions are, is the I-94 W in a good condition to drive when it's snowing , well let's say kinda snowfree as in no sliding with the car all the time ;) , and how long would it take if the weather wouldn't be 2 good to get there, I know normal drive time is approx. 4 hours from the airport MSP. Thank for you help guys :)

Best regards from Europe,

Tim

Minneapolis...
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1. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

There are just too many variables to give you a clear answer. We're having a brutal winter so far, but mostly because of the cold. However, extreme cold can affect road conditions as much as snow.

Just to ask how road conditions are when it's snowing misses the variability of snow -- how much, what type (light/fluffy or wet/slushy), how fast is it falling, etc. And also the corresponding temp (extreme cold can neutralize the effects of ice-melt salt) and wind. Recently we had Interstate 90 closed for a time because of blowing snow. Wasn't a lot of snow that fell but the fact it was blowing horizontally eliminated visibility.

I don't say that to scare you out of your trip. Just to justify my saying that there is no way to give you a clear answer. It depends on the specific weather at the time and the plows' ability to keep up.

I would plan to go ahead with your trip because probability says you will be fine. Roads are clear and safe most of the time. I would keep an eye on weather and have some basic safety supplies (warm clothes, boots, flashlight etc) in case of a very rare emergency.

Houston, Texas
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2. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

I totally echo mn's comments. Weather is unpredictable and can change by the day and even by the hour. Also, just because I'm comfortable driving, doesn't mean others are. One resource I use is 511. They offer a variety of maps and links to the official MN DOT website. Including highway cameras. Also available as an app. A good emergency kit is a must.

http://www.511mn.org/

Roodt/Syre
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3. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

Thanks for your first answer mntoathens , I will keep your information in mind. First weather informations for the 8th of february are Mostly cloudy and cold, so let's hope for a good change in that matter :)

Minneapolis...
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4. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

First weather informations for the 8th of february are Mostly cloudy and cold, so let's hope for a good change in that matter :)

-----------------------------

I wouldn't be too concerned about a forecast this far out. And "cold" is a subjective term. Look for specific temps. Temps below zero F should be concerning from an ice perspective. At a certain point it gets cold enough where the salt spread byt the plows has little to no effect. Check back in 5 days or so for a better forecast

Roodt/Syre
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5. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

thanks bk, I will download that app, webcams are always good

PS I see you're from Houston, I will see the game Houston rockets against the Timberwolves in Minneapolis on the 10th ;)

Paynesville...
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6. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

I agree, it completely depends on the weather at the moment.

Over the course of an average winter though, probably 75% of days the weather and roads are clear and dry and traffic on that freeway would be safely moving at 70-80 mph. The other roughly 25% of the time or so, traffic may be moving slower due to current snowfall, wet or icy roads, or blowing snow with poor visibility. This might mean people only have to slow down to 60-65 mph to stay safe, or if really bad it could mean it is only safe to travel 30-35 mph on the freeway. A lot of it depends on your vehicle, your tires, your experience, and your comfort. The snowplows and salt trucks typically get out on the roads quickly and keep them in the best condition they can. Maybe about 1% of the time the roads become so unsafe that they have to be closed down due severe weather, like they were earlier this week.

Roodt/Syre
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7. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

Hey MinnesotaGuy, thanks for your reply too. We are going to drive a Ford Escape or similar according to Alamo. Well we do have sometimes also something like a winter over here in Luxembourg , last year we had lot of snow and this year our winter is rainy with 48°F. I think me and mate should handle a small Suv without any problems ( I drive a Jeep Wrangler here at home ) during not to worse snow conditions but as Mntoathens says I will check the weather forcast next week again.

Edited: 29 January 2014, 19:30
Plymouth, Minnesota
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8. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

You have already gotten pretty good advice. The main freeways (I-94 east west and I-35 north south) are nearly always driveable.

My personal contribution is this: when it is really cold (say 15 to 20 below zero Fahrenheit), the auto exhaust fumes will freeze right out of the air and result in something called black ice. It is hard to see, and really treacherous. Last winter, I ended up in the emergency room from black ice in my driveway. So if it is that cold, be especially careful.

Saint Paul...
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9. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

Where in Luxembourg? Both of my parents have Luxembourge heritage, lovely country.

I have relatives in Wormeldange and my son spent this past Christmas there.

Roodt/Syre
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10. Re: Road Conditions in Winter ( I-94W )

Hi Rikkasad, thanks for your message too. Well I hope it's not getting 15 or 20 below, that below in Celcius is already bad, but in Fahrenheit brr.... But I like the "nearly always" driveable ;)

@sully , oh Wormeldange is just around the corner 4 me, it's less than a 10 minute drive. Lovely area, and good wine from the Moselle River :)

Edited: 30 January 2014, 07:15