Snowstorm leaves snarled traffic, cancellations in wake

February 07, 2019 10:13 PM

The week's second major snowfall dumped around five-to-seven inches across the Twin Cities metro area Thursday, snarling traffic and leading to more cancellations.

KSTP Meteorologist Wren Clair said snowfall totals were heavier northwest of the metro area, toward St. Cloud. Snow emergencies were in effect in many cities, including Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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And with the weather turning colder overnight, blowing and drifting snow was expected to become an issue in many places. 

Gov. Tim Walz Thursday night declared a peacetime state of emergency, ordering the Minnesota National Guard to provide assistance and offer emergency relief services for stranded motorists in Renville County.

A release said continued storm conditions were expected to create dangerous conditions for people traveling in that area. The National Guard will assist in search-and-rescue operations and has opened the Olivia Armory as a shelter.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation was advising no travel in south central Minnesota throughout the night, including on Interstate 35 from the Iowa border to Faribault. Plows were out on the road, but a release said conditions were challenging.

A previous release said plows were not out in rural areas in the region for their own safety, and were not expected to return to those roadways until 4 a.m. Friday.

The release said some problem areas to be avoided included Highway 23 north of Interstate 90, Highway 75 north of Luverne, Highway 71 between Windom and Sanborn, Highway 14 from Highway 71 in Sanborn to New Ulm, Highway 30 from Westbrook to Highway 4, Highway 15 from Madelia to Winthrop, Highway 22 from Gaylord to Highway 212 in Glencoe and Highway 60 from Highway 14 to Madison Lake.

RELATED: Minneapolis, St. Paul issue snow emergencies

That warning came after a day that saw the state patrol report 413 crashes on the state's roads from 5 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. alone, including 32 with injuries (though none considered serious). There were also 494 reports of vehicles spinning out or going off the road and 18 reports of jackknifed semis.

The state patrol said it was holding over some day shift cars to handle the number of crashes and spinouts on the roads. 

On Thursday night, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport reported 180 flight cancellations and slightly under 500 delays to and from the airport. 

RELATED: No school means sports and activities also impacted

And the weather was expected to turn colder overnight. The forecast called for a low of negative eight degrees with wind chills of negative 20 to negative 30. Friday is expected to be cold as well with the high reaching only 1. A low of negative 14 is expected Friday night into Saturday.

RELATED: Minneapolis, St. Paul Public Schools cancel classes Friday

The cold and the continued expected transportation delays due to road conditions led a number of school districts to call off classes Friday, including both Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools.

Still, people seemed to be making the best of the situation.

In Chanhassen Thursday, the focus was on clearing the snow out.

Homeowner La Dang pulled out his big snow blower to get rid of all the white stuff that had fallen. 

"It's a lot of snow," he said. "It keeps coming. That's alright. I like it." 

Just down the block his neighbor Luke Schmidt was helping out others.

"I'll do two, three or four more driveways too," he said. "We've got some older people in the cul-de-sac. I do theirs as well." 

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