Crashes Aplenty As Snow Falls Yet Again

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — No, your eyes do not deceive you. That’s still winter waiting for you outside Wednesday, though the calendar insists it’s spring.

The Morning Commute
The overnight sleet and snow mix in the Twin Cities made for a treacherous morning commute, and a number of Twin Cities schools reported late starts or cancellations outright.

There was an accident along Interstate 94 involving a jackknifed semi truck that shut the westbound lanes down for a short time between Highway 52 and Highway 61.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported that, between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, there were 377 crashes statewide, 265 of which happened in the Twin Cities metro area. There were also 499 spinouts, with 316 of them in the metro.

Fifty-three crashes, most in the metro, involved injuries, with one listed as serious.

WCCO-TV’s Kerry McNally Reports

Airport Delays
MSP International is seeing between one-to-two-hour delays on arrivals and departures.

Officials said there have been at least 50 flights canceled and nearly 90 delays. They recommend that travelers call ahead to check on the status of their flight.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission said the wind is blowing perpendicular to the runways, making it difficult for some planes to land.

When Will It End?
Meteorologist Chris Shaffer said the Twin Cities received anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of snow, with unofficial snow totals of 4.4 inches at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The north side of the state saw the heaviest totals, with unofficial reports of as much as 11 inches in Mille Lacs County. The snow finally stopped Wednesday afternoon in the Twin Cities and should be done completely by Wednesday night across the state.

Conditions were certainly the worst outside the Twin Cities. Central Minnesota is under a winter storm warning and WCCO-TV’s Bill Hudson said North Branch, which is in Chisago County, got about a foot of snow.

WCCO-TV’s Bill Hudson Reports

Alexandria Digs Out From Storm
Travel definitely gets tough the further north you go from the Twin Cities, with wet snow packed on the highway making conditions slippery.

In Alexandria, a dangerous stretch of Interstate 94 sent dozens of cars off the road overnight. Drivers faced frightening moments when falling ice turned to heavy snow and strong winds brought white out conditions across central Minnesota.

State Troopers say the biggest hazards are on the side streets where large snow drifts are blowing across the roadways, deceiving drivers.

“This is what I like to refer to as March Madness, and I am not talking about basketball. I am talking about Minnesota weather here on the roadways,” said Sgt. Jesse Grabow with the Detroit Lakes District. “We have had our share of blizzards this winter, and this is probably up there with some of the worst, with packed snow and ice.”

Students all over the region had a snow day, and people in Alexandria spent the day digging out.

“It’s been slippery all over, in fact, I even fell twice,” said Dean Affeldt, of Alexandria. “I am not complaining, I tell ya, because we could have what Japan’s got, so smile and enjoy the snow out here.”

WCCO-TV’s Lindsey Seavert Reports

Seriously, Enough With Winter
While the snow has certainly taken a toll on the roads, it seems it’s also taken a toll on Minnesotans. There were plenty of people digging out, getting stuck and just plain over it all.

Nikia Gustafson, of Minneapolis, said she’s ready for spring.

“I really am, and then to see this again, it’s disappointing, ’cause I’m ready for summer,” she said. “I’m ready for summer clothes. It’s like nope, I had to pull the boots out this morning, ’cause I’d already packed them away.”

Dave Wilson, of Minneapolis, said you know we’ve had too much snow when even the kids are complaining.

“My son sounded like an old man. He’s only 6 years old and he was complaining abot the snow,” he said. “So when a 6-year-old is complaining about the snow, you know we’ve had a long winter.”

At least one kid wasn’t complaining — 10-year-old Keegan Hoffer was sledding in southwest Minneapolis.

“I’m gonna enjoy it while it lasts,” he said.

  • Sandy Berger

    Spring where art thou?

  • Tanya needs a break soon

    As long as this winter stuff ceases in march I’m okay.
    It’s that mid-April heavy snow that depresses me to no end

  • J

    I like snow, but it has a time and place, and now ain’t the time OR the place. :/

  • Don_J

    This is an open letter to the snowplow driver(s) whichever that supposedly plowed I-35-W this morning… ARE YOU FRIGGEN SERIOUS DUDE! OK… You know how the snow at the end of the plow stacks up to about 14 or so inches as the trucks move along… WHY were there miles long barriers on I-35-W between I-94 and 62/Portland Exits? It was seriously like driving through the security lines at the airport. And to the people who like to ride lanes to the very last inch, whether it’s a merge lane or a lane closed because of an accident, you cannot complain because I flip you off and don’t let you in, that’s the rule, if you want to beat everyone else who’ve moved over sooner, then I don’t have to let you in.

    Also, traveling along on 55 down in Eagan, there is at least 5-7 inches of snow on the road and no plows to be seen, so why are four plows lining up on Lone Oak Road to plow across 55 and up toward I-35-W?

    But I made it to work safely and looking forward to driving home tonight  Have a great day all!

    • John

      If you understood the physics of traffic, you’d be flipping yourself off.

    • Gregg McElroy

      There are 3 divisions of plowing, State level – they plow interstates and state highways, County Level- They clear county roads and city level that clean the city roads. The Plow drivers have right-a-way like a bus. You can get fined for not yielding is what I was told by a cop on Hwy 55 today at the holiday station in Eagan, If it has lights flashing you have to yield or move a lane its the law.

    • just8

      Take a look at this link:

      Zip merging may be against your rules, but it is not against the law. Although, I have to admit that I find those cars downright annoying at times.

      • Don_J

        There are lots of things that are “legal” that are just as dangerous as they are stupid. Thanks, but I think I’ll pass a video of someone trying to convince me of the “joys’ of some jerk who rides a lane to the end all because he wants to be in front of everyone else… no thanks.

        • Sam

          IMO, there’s an abundance of Zip-Mergers when driving north on I-35W near where I-35W splits into I-94W and I-94E. It’s super annoying cuz I’m always on the I-94E lane, crawling along, When some dude just zips from the left lane out of no where at 60mph, 12 inches from my front bumper. If it annoys you, just blast your horns like I do. And accelerate really fast from behind.

      • Jeff

        It’s not against the law to not let those people in. It’s their responsibility to fit in when they can and merge into traffic. If they wanted to pull that last second effort, they can sit there all night since they have to yield to mail lane of traffic. Yeah, the zipper is etiquette and if we’re in a spot where it’s give one a spot I’ll do that. The people that force their way in and wait until the last opportunity are the ones that upset me, especially when there is many other merge points they could have got into.

    • JeanD

      Don_J echoes my every thought! on the snowplow situation in this area. IThis is my 5th winter in this god-forsaken place, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the snow plow drivers are all on drugs!!

    • Don_J

      Josh… you keep talking about the “flow of traffic”… tell me, how is the flow of traffic increased if people have to keep slowing down or change lanes whenever someone that doesn’t want to wait in line to take an exit (have you seen the Washington Ave. exit in the mornings or the ramps to I94 right after Washington?), or how is it safe when people come flying down the ramp (at bat speed) to get on a road where other drivers are already up to the posted speed limit, an in effect cutting drivers off when there are no cars behind that car that has the right of way… and please don’t say move over… because those same people who will drive to the last inch will also dive across 4 lanes of traffic to make an exit just 50 yards or less away. Now that can’t be nice… stupid yes, but not nice. No, it’s not about “not letting people in…” it’s not that at all, and I will not even get into the winter driving habits that I’ve seen, but it’s more about while I’m driving responsibly I have people around me driving “legally” like there are no rules.

      Let me say this Josh, and others, then I will leave this topic alone, I’ve driven all over the world in many countries as well as here in the US, and I have seen bad driving, but I’ve got to tell you, Minnesota drivers are very close to the top of the list of most reckless drivers, that’s as far as I am concerned, and if it were not necessary for me to drive I wouldn’t, but as for traffic flow and that efficiency that you were talking about… I’m not buying it, now if you told me that fixing the potholes would improve traffic flow then I would agree with you.

      Thanks for the conversation have a great day!

      • dphilips

        Have to agree with Don Mn drivers are the worst in the world!

    • Don_J

      Josh… I never said that I was angry at anything… and I know that traffic gets “bad”, what I was trying to say before everyone started telling me the “bennies” of zip-merging was that SOMETIMES maybe you should consider moving over sooner and do not get upset because people do not let you in… that’s all. While zip-merging may be legal, ignoring someone trying to push-in on me is not illegal… or is that against the rules of “Minnesota Nice”?

      • Josh

        You’re correct, it’s not illegal. Merging drivers bear the responsibility of finding their opening. I just wonder if blocking people serves to ease traffic flow, or if it’s more about not wanting someone to get in front.

    • Josh

      I know it’s frustrating, but the rule is actually the opposite of what you think it is. Drivers who “ride the lanes to the last inch” are doing it correctly. It’s called the ‘zipper merge’ or the ‘late merge’, and is one example of MN nice getting in the way of efficiency. We all want to be polite, move over asap, and patiently wait. In truth, the zipper merge increases traffic flow and moves more cars through in a shorter amount of time. Counterintuitive? For Minnesotans, yes. But the folks you flip the bird to are doing it the way MNDot asks.

      • MJM

        You’re right, Josh! Minnesotans just love to get in line. It is so much faster if you merge AT THE MERGE POINT! Not to mention less dangerous. This is a big part of why traffic gets so bad around here is that no one knows how to merge.

      • Josh

        Then be aware that you are contributing to the traffic jam that got you angry in the first place. And if safety is your main concern, I don’t think your method of blocking people who are trying to merge is helping you accomplish your goal. Zippering is neither dangerous, nor stupid. It just FEELS like it SHOULD be. Plus, when someone tries to pull in front of you, it feels great to pretend you have been somehow victimized. But sometimes it pays to let logic override your emotions so that we can all have a quicker commute.

      • Don_J

        …so you’re saying that MNDot is expecting ME to move over… and be nice… hmmm, I guess expecting people in a rush to be nice is totally out of the question.

  • SG

    I enjoy the winter weather but more show iw the last thing we need on top of the flooding we are already bracing for.

    All things considered, even though we have had an amazing amount of snow theis winter, the temperatures have been pretty mild over all.

  • Sgt

    After many many many years of whimpy winters this a good one!!

    • got to love the snow

      Sgt: yes it has been many years since we’ve seen a winter like this, the independant plow drivers needed this, BUT….I’m really tired of it already…wawawawawawa…ok ok done crying…but i’m not shoveling my drive way anymore. :~)

      Happy Spring!!!!

  • concerned

    Where are the snow plows? We knew this storm was coming. At noon I was just starting to see snow plows on very major interstates?? We do live in Minnesota. I can not believe how bad the roads are. It is still coming down heavy where I was driving. Just very surprised to see such awful roads in this state. Any explaination from MNDOT?

  • Twinsfan

    This memo just in – Mother Nature is still in charge.

  • Richard in Minneapolis

    I don’t like driving in snow anymore than anyone else, but I have chosen to rejoice today in the fact that the snow banks are white again and not a dirty gray or black, and that I don’t have to look at a winter’s worth of cigarette butt and dog sh|t accumulation when I go outside.

    Yes, we’re getting as much as a foot of snow. But whether we get stress or enjoyment out ot the experience is entirely up to us.

  • Sandy

    Bad mix but did any bother to fill the DOT in on the fact we have roads in the WORST possible condition out there right now??? Roads were horrible this morning and worse now!

  • Sandi

    My mailman just arrived with a package and he said that the roads are soooooo bad and also wondered “where are the plows”? His advice…….if you don’t have to go out, stay home!

  • Bewildered Citizen

    Anoka-Hennepin ISD 11 has not closed in years for a snow day. This is just plain stupidity now.

    At what point is life not so important?

    This was the choice many were faced with this morning. Either get yourself to work and risk your life…because driving on unploughed roads in a blizzard is risking your life. Or choose not to go in but make someone else drive in to take your place, what a choice if something where to happen to them. Then if you do not go in it counts as a day off as well.

    ISD 11 cares very little for safety of the students and staff and more for their pride and streak of so many years without a school closing.

  • llb

    as a staff member and parent at Anoka-Hennepin ISD 11 we should have closed today! The roads were horrible this morning, buses running way to late. I “feel” for all of the bus drivers out there!

  • curious

    To the earlier discussion about merging, Don_J if you are not angry, then why are you “flipping” people off for using the merge lane to the end. That is simply childish and probably dangerous as well.

    • Don_J

      Have you ever had someone come so close to you that you could not see their lights… and then flip you off… that’s why. That answer your question?

  • red

    good one TwinsFan

  • E

    Your message is all full of misguided information. I’m a teacher in the district as well… You say the district doesn’t care for the safety of the students? That’s the reason this district doesn’t cancel school. As the largest district in the state, how many children/teenagers/etc would be left unattended if school was cancelled at 6-7am? Not every working parent has the opportunity to take a paid sick day. I don’t know where you come from, but the roads around my school were plowed when I came in at 7:45 this morning and my commute took me a while 25 minutes instead of 15. All it takes is leaving a bit earlier in the morning and a little patience and you’ll be golden. And little do you know, if you as a parent don’t want your children to go to school, call the school and tell them it’s your decision on a day like this. AND it’s excused!

    • Bewildered Citizen

      There is no misguided information in my statement. Maybe opinions but nothing misguided. Let’s take your comments one at a time shall we.

      If the school cared for the safety of the students and staff then they would have canceled school. Plain and simple. I have no problem coming in to teach, and I was in school with loads of time. I always am. But school should have been canceled way before 6 or 7am. Then there would be no problems having children that where unattended. I looked out my house at 11 pm last night and I knew then that it was bad. I checked MNDot and WCCO website and they stated do not drive unless absolutely necessary until Wednesday evening. All weather channels and MNDot where stating that the snow was to continue until Wednesday evening. It is now after 3pm and the snow has just NOW stopped. Students have to get themselves home (many by walking…walking in snow that is over a foot deep) Staff have to drive home and hope they can get there? Yes some who live close great, but what percentage of staff live close to the place they work?

      Also I see cars, trucks and buses (city buses) in the ditch that could have been carrying students or staff. I know of a staff member and parent that was killed when they drove in on a snow day and hit by another driver. How is this caring for the safety.

      Your comment loses validity as soon as you say they can not cancel at 6 or 7 am. Should have been canceled way before. We are in a day and age of information. We knew the weather and we saw it coming three four days down the road.

      So misguided no…perturbed and bewildered yes.

    • Bewildered Citizen

      Don’t get me wrong, the staff in the schools care for the students otherwise they would not put their lives on the lines. The maintenence staff are amazing and the students are great sports. But we should NEVER have been put in the situation. I’m talking about the district people who make these decisions.

  • Tea Asks who got it right?

    Wait…didn’t Chris Schafer say we were only going to get “.9″” at one point?

    Then it went to 4″…..

    and now what..a foot?


  • Spring? It feels more like christmas around here.

    […] […]

  • JB

    I am throughly amazed that the majority of us seem to get from point A to B without spinning out and smacking a concrete barrier! There are several thousand cars that probably drove over that same section of pavement that someone spun out on!

    This would lead me to believe it’s not the snow, ice or any other issue other than “driver error”! It amazes me when everyone says it wasn’t my fault my car lost control and wiped out three other cars! I drive a FWD car and I made it to my destination but the person in the AWD or 4WD couldn’t! And the State Trooper driving the “rear” wheel drive car had no issues rushing the the scene on the same road that you lost control on! Is it just me or does anyone else find this interesting!

    How can someone drive for 20 or 30 years and never bounce of a guardrail or have an accident and for some it seems like a yearly event for them? I guess we are just lucky that us and the other thousands of drivers didn’t drive over that same patch of snow and ice that you did!


    • law enforcer

      Well said


    Big Frickin F for MNDOT today! Just hoping it will melt instead of tapping into the precious little budget???

  • captainobvious

    I delivered furniture all day in metro in the morning then drove to rochester you people are a joke if you used your heads when you drove this wouldnt be an issue, haha if any of u went in the ditch, stumps

    • Gregg McElroy

      I so agree! People need to hang up the phone and drive. I have driven in a lot more then this in 2wd and didn’t have one problem!

  • E

    What chaps my a** is that AH #11 has school today and then proceeds to cancel all after school activities.

  • la de da

    Left Hugo today at ~ 1:30pm going north on I-35E. Holy buckets Batman, not a plow in sight and 1 lane open with tracks made by cars/trucks, it had not been touched all day! Going south bound on the other hand I saw 4 MN dot trucks in staggered formation in Forest Lake on I-35 south. That makes great sense due to people getting off of work go north not south.

    Oh and to the HUGO city crew’s EPIC failure! DROP THE PLOW. 2 Inches above the pavement doesn’t work, I want to see pavement.

  • Ruth

    265-300 accidents again?!? The problem is the MORON drivers who get behind the wheel of their cars, trucks and SUVs and drive like it’s the middle of summer. I can’t tell you how many idiots were driving with their windows and/or headlights barely cleared of snow, NO headlights on and tailgating. Those “drivers” need a refresher course in how to drive regardless of the conditions. SLOW DOWN AND BACK OFF!

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