Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Driving conditions are slowly improving across southern Minnesota, but many major roads remain snow covered and slick in the wake of last night’s winter storm. The State Patrol and other law officers are still responding to weather-related crashes in the region this afternoon and the Minnesota Department of Transportation is reporting that five of its plows have been hit by other vehicles while clearing snow yesterday and today.

The most serious incident was reported in Scott County late yesterday afternoon. The State Patrol says 52-year-old Steven Valenzuela was severely hurt when his SUV crashed into the back of a snow plow clearing a section of Highway 169 near Jordan. The Le Sueur man was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

Two Albert Lea residents suffered non-life threatening injuries in a collision with a MnDOT snowplow on I-35 yesterday in Freeborn County, not too far from a section of the freeway that was shut down for several hours because of a crash involving four semi-trucks and a car. As of Saturday afternoon, the most serious storm-related crash involved a private plow truck.

The National Weather Service is reporting the heaviest band of snow was located just south of Rochester, running from the southwestern corner of South Dakota, across far southern Minnesota and into northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin. The highest snowfall total reported to the National Weather Service was 15-inches at Huron Lake near Windom. 12.5-inches was recorded south of Mankato at Mapleton, while a foot of snow was reported at Brownsdale in Mower County, and 11-inches fell in Spring Grove. There was also a report of 14-inches of accumulation in far northern Iowa southeast of Harmony.

In the Rochester area, the snowfall totals ranged from almost 8.5-inches in an area just north of the Airport to around 3.5-inches at the far north edge of the city. Just over 4-inches was recorded at the Mayo One Helipad on top of St. Marys Hospital, while the official total through midnight at the Rochester Airport set a new record for January 18th at 8.1-inches. The moisture content of the snow was measured at over a half-inch, which was also a new record for the date. The previous snowfall record for the date was set in 1996 at 6.9-inches.

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