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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The sloppy, wintry mess that Minnesota has thus far mostly avoided has arrived, with many parts of the state seeing a nasty mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.
The State Patrol reported 71 crashes in the Twin Cities metro area since 9 p.m. Tuesday evening, with nine of them involving injuries. Statewide, there were 84 crashes reported, with 19 involving injuries. No serious or fatal crashes were reported.
The winter mix was also snarling up public transportation. Metro Transit reported that, of 429 buses on 100 routes, they were operating at a rate of 49 percent on time. The average delay for buses was reportedly 8 minutes.
Xcel Energy is also reporting that 5,015 customers are experiencing outages as of 3:11 p.m. Due to the outages, a Lifetime Fitness in St. Louis Park has been temporarily closed.
The highest snow total reported in the state so far, according to WCCO meteorologist Lauren Casey, was in Alexandria, which reported 12 inches by Wednesday morning. Casey reported, “ice accumulation from freezing rain overnight in Waseca brought down a 10-inch diameter tree branch.”
Meanwhile up north, the University of Minnesota Duluth and the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College are among the hundreds of schools that closed Wednesday as a late winter storm made travel difficult.
A storm warning is in effect for much of Minnesota, with the heaviest snow in central Minnesota. The National Weather Service predicted up to more than a foot of snow from Fergus Falls to Duluth by Wednesday afternoon.
The late winter storm has delivered more than a foot of snow to northern Wisconsin, closed dozens of schools and created treacherous driving conditions.
School districts throughout central and northern Wisconsin opted to keep children at home Wednesday. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for northern and central regions of the Badger State.
Check back for the latest updates.
GALLERY: Your Wintry Snow Photos
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