Freezing Rain, Snow Make For Slow, Slippery Commute

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Freezing rain and snow Tuesday morning made for a slick and messy commute, resulting in numerous crashes on roadways across Minnesota.

The sleet and freezing rain started falling in southern Minnesota as a storm system moved up from the Great Plains. The wintry mix clipped communities in the Twin Cities, glazing metro roads and sidewalks with ice.

By around 8 a.m., the wintry mix turned to snow, blanketing the slick roads and sidewalks. The combination made for a slow commute in the Twin Cities metro, where all major roadways were partially covered in snow during the busiest driving hours.

The State Patrol says that between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m., troopers in the metro responded to 93 crashes and 53 spin-outs. In those crashes, 9 people suffered injuries, but none were serious or fatal.

Meanwhile, the State Patrol said its troopers encountered numerous crashes and spun-out cars in west-central and southern Minnesota, due to reduced visibility and snow-caked roads. Some school districts in those areas delayed their start times or closed for the day.

Transportation officials advised drivers throughout the state to take it slow and, if at all possible, stay home.

Those commuting by bus in the Twin Cities also encountered delays. As of 11 a.m., Metro Transit said 46 percent of its buses were behind schedule due to snow and traffic, with an average delay time of 13 minutes.

Looking ahead, the snow is expected to taper off in the Twin Cities during the afternoon as the storm system moves east. After the snow, however, the winds will pick up, possibly blowing the 2-4 inches of snow that’s expected to accumulate.

Overnight, a few more inches of snow are expected. And since temperatures will be cooler Wednesday morning, the commute could be another messy one as salt doesn’t work on roads when temperatures are below 15 degrees.

The mess on the roads Tuesday comes after a snowy day when there were more than 400 crashes and 200 spin-outs statewide. Two of those Monday crashes were fatal, and one left a State Trooper with a concussion after a car slammed into his squad as he was responding to a call.

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