CROOKSTON (AP) - Blinding snow has closed dozens of schools and at least two highways in northwestern Minnesota where firefighters rescued a stranded motorist.

Strong wind and heavy snow combined to create whiteout conditions. Authorities advised against traveling.

Crookston, Alexandria and Fergus Falls are among school districts who told students to stay home Thursday.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says Highway 2 was closed from Crookston to East Grand Forks, N.D., as well as Highway 200 between the state line and Highway 75 near Halstad.

Two Kennedy firefighters rescued a driver stranded on Highway 11 after he ran off the road and ran out of gas early Thursday. Kittson County Sheriff's jailer Tim Nordine says people risked their lives by going out in the storm to get him.