BEMIDJI -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation advises motorists to be prepared for difficult travel conditions today and throughout the weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the western edge of Minnesota, and Beltrami County remains in a winter storm warning through 6 p.m. on Saturday. Anywhere from 4 to 7 inches of snow is expected across the area starting Friday afternoon.

Motorists should be prepared for extremely difficult travel conditions. Total snowfall predictions may vary, but forecast winds of 35 mph and gusts of up to 50 mph in some areas, could lead to dangerous travel conditions. Wind chills may drop as low as 25 below, according to the National Weather Service.

Beltrami County Emergency Management issued a statement on Thursday saying with the recent light fluffy snow and more on the way, blowing and drifting snow into Saturday will be the primary area of concern.

Though snowfall should wrap up later in the day on Saturday, the high winds will continue into Sunday.

Emergency Management personnel advises those on and near area lakes to be prepared for widespread blowing and drifting snow, as well as open areas.

MnDOT issued a statement on Friday saying that snowplow crews are prepared for overnight snow tonight.

The public can view winter road conditions from plow cameras available through the 511mn.org website.

The Department of Transportation advises motorists to reduce distractions and use caution around snowplows. Motorists should remember to:

  • Check road conditions at www.511mn.org or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud.
  • Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. Plows may also travel over center lines or partially into traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.

For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.