Thousands remain in the dark across Minnesota, Wisconsin; hundreds of vehicles towed in the Twin Cities
The wet and heavy snowfall has made it even more difficult for the crews working to get the power back on across the region.
It could be days before the power is back on, especially since snow continues to fall, and trees keep coming down – with some falling on top of the power lines.
The lines aren’t always right next to the road, either.
As of 10:15 a.m. Friday, poweroutage.us reported there were more than 33,200 customers in Minnesota and more than 24,300 customers in Wisconsin without power, down slightly from the amounts reported at 6:30 a.m. At that time, more than 34,000 customers were in the dark in Minnesota, while more than 28,000 were in the same boat in Wisconsin.
The majority of outages in Minnesota are located in Aitkin, Carlton, Crow Wing and Pine Counties. In Wisconsin, the outages are concentrated in Barron, Bayfield, Rusk, Sawyer and Washburn Counties.
CLICK HERE for a list of major utility companies across Minnesota.
The main power companies serving the area – including Minnesota Power, East Central Energy and Lake Country Power – have all been busy working to get the lights back on and have brought in extra help to fix the widespread damage.
“The challenge that we so far have had with this storm is (a) tremendous amount of wet, heavy snow, which has really hampered our abilities to get out to these places and has really put a big strain and a burden on the vegetation, the trees, and stuff. Frankly, in our service territory, this has led to a lot of power outages, wires down… we have a lot of damage on our system right now,” said Josh Goutermont of Minnesota Power.
Crews are asking the public to stay away from trees that are on power lines – even if you think a line is dead, it is still a hazard.
The snow has also caused multiple communities to issue snow emergencies. If you park your car on the street, you’ll want to make sure you move it to avoid being ticketed, towed, or both.
Multiple cars were seen being brought to the Minneapolis impound lot overnight as plow drivers worked to clear the streets. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Minneapolis and St. Paul to see how many vehicles were towed to their respective impound lots overnight – according to the City of Minneapolis, 890 tickets were issued for violations, and 166 of those ticketed vehicles were towed. St. Paul officials said for the city’s night plow routes, a total of 766 tickets were issued, and 311 vehicles were towed.
CLICK HERE for a full list of snow emergencies.
The snow and cold temps also created slick spots on roads, making for difficult travel conditions.
The Minnesota State Patrol says, between 9:30 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 a.m. Friday, troopers responded to more than 70 crashes — six of which resulted in injuries — as well as 116 vehicles spun out or off the road and seven jackknifed semis.
Another 70 crashes, seven of which resulted in injuries, 104 spinouts and 12 jackknifed semis were reported between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Chief Meteorologist Ken Barlow said Friday morning snow will wind down throughout the day, with another inch or so possible. You’ll want to shovel or plow your sidewalk and driveway during the first half of the weekend since an Arctic blast is expected to start moving in late Sunday and into the next week.
Friday morning, snow was falling during the start of the morning rush, with multiple crashes reported. MnDOT has reported major highways across the metro region are either completely or partially covered with ice and snow.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS traffic reporter Hanna Conway will have updates on morning crashes throughout the morning drive. Her Twitter feed can be found by CLICKING HERE, and an interactive traffic map can be found below.
Schools across the state are once again changing their plans due to the weather. More than a hundred districts have decided to delay the start of classes Friday, close but have an e-learning day, or close all together. CLICK HERE for a full list of school alerts.