MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Winter is nowhere near finished with Minnesota yet, and a new round of snow landed in the state just in time to make the morning commute another one for the aspirin files.
WCCO meteorologist Mike Augustyniak says the snow will continue into the day Friday. A number of reports from WCCO’s Weather Watcher Network indicate that many parts of the Twin Cities have already received in excess of 2 inches of snow, with higher totals reported to the south, including a 3-inch reading in Lakeville and 4 inches toward Owatonna and Geneva.
Augustyniak said the snow is falling lightly, but consistently. The flakes should continue to descend upon the Twin Cities throughout the morning, dropping anywhere from 1 to 3 additional inches on the area.
By the end of the cycle later this afternoon, the Twin Cities should see anywhere from 3 to 6 inches of snow, with the higher totals more likely to the south.
Temperatures should reach the upper 20s on Friday, with peaks of sun moving back in later on in the weekend. Another dose of snow could move into the state on Monday or Tuesday, so keep that shovel handy.
Dozens of school districts called off classes Friday or started two hours late. Among the districts closed are Albert Lea, Alden-Conger and Austin schools.
As of 9, there were also a few snow emergencies declared around the metro area, including those called in Mendota Heights, Plymouth, Crystal and St. Louis Park. Click here for more snow emergency information.
As of 9:45 a.m. Metro Transit reported that, of the 327 buses on 56 routes, roughly 62 percent were running on time. Among those running late, there was an average delay of 8 minutes.
The National Weather Service said snow totals to the south generally ranged from about 2 to 6 inches of snow. The deep spot was in Dodge County, where about 8 inches of snow was recorded.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation said driving conditions were difficult on interstates and other roads around the Twin Cities, its suburbs and in Rochester where 5 inches of snow hampered motorists. Dozens of school districts called off classes Friday or started two hours late. Among the districts closed are Albert Lea, Alden-Conger and Austin schools.
THE STORM, NATIONALLY
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gusty winds and iced-over roadways made for treacherous Midwest travel Friday as a major winter storm headed east over the Great Lakes.
Two deaths have been linked to the storm, including one in a fatal traffic accident in Minnesota. Accidents and slide-offs were widespread across the affected states. Commuters faced strong winds of Lake Michigan in eastern Wisconsin. While Chicago’s large fleet of snowplows salted and cleared the city’s streets of 3 inches of snow, commuters slogged through slush to get to their offices.
About 270 flights in and out of Chicago’s two airports were canceled Friday morning. Arrival delays of up to 90 minutes were reported at O’Hare airport. The Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo., airports both reopened Friday morning but had numerous cancellations and delays.
The snow began falling in Detroit just in time for the morning rush, turning streets and freeways into a mess.
Head bowed and arms crossed, 45-year-old Patrice Denham pushed forward into Detroit’s swirling snow. She had just walked several blocks to her townhouse complex’s leasing office for a new mailbox key and was heading back home.
“You live in the city of Detroit and you do what you have to do,” Denham said referring to the rough winter weather that regularly affects the city. “If it’s going to be cold, it’s going to be cold. But this has been only an average winter.”
Where the storm struck hardest Wednesday and Thursday, impressive snow totals rolled in — 17 inches in Hays, Kan.; 13 inches in northern Oklahoma; 13 ½ inches in northeast Missouri and south-central Nebraska; and 12 inches in parts of Kansas City, Mo.
As it moved farther north and east overnight and into Friday, the system lost strength. Illinois’ totals ranged from 7.5 inches in the west-central town of Rushville to a mix of sleet and freezing rain in the St. Louis, Mo., suburbs. Dodge County in southeastern Minnesota received 8 inches by Friday morning, and Trempealeau County of western Wisconsin had 7 inches.
Students across a large swath of Kansas spent a second day at home as crews continue to excavate residential neighborhoods. Schools also were closed Friday in parts of Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The Kansas Legislature was back in session Friday after canceling its meetings Thursday, but lawmakers’ schedule was light.
Travel continued to be the major issue Friday.
A United plane slid off a slick runway at the Cleveland airport onto a grassy area Friday morning. No injuries were reported.
The Minnesota State Patrol blamed the snow for over 200 accidents during the Friday morning commute. One driver was killed when a vehicle lost control, slid into oncoming traffic and was broadsided on a highway in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan.
A death in western Iowa was also linked to the storm when a woman was run over Thursday by her car, which had gotten stuck on her steep, slippery driveway.
Also in Iowa, a bus carrying members of a college softball team was involved in a multi-vehicle crash Friday morning. It closed part of Interstate 80 east of Des Moines, and no serious injuries were reported.
In some locations, the storm didn’t live up to the hype. At the Pilot Flying J station near Interstate 29 in southwest Iowa, shift manager Kelly Malone said Friday his company had taken precautions by reserving seven rooms for employees at the nearby Super 8 Motel.
“We were prepared for the worst, but it didn’t happen that bad,” he said. Iowa’s snow totals topped out at 9.7 inches near Sioux City.
“To me it was just an average storm, but I’m a person who drives through anything,” he said.
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