MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Residents in southern Minnesota have already seen a foot of snow pile up as a winter storm swirls over the state Monday, creating dangerous driving conditions in south central Minnesota and canceling hundreds of flights at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The snow started falling overnight in southern Minnesota before moving up toward the Twin Cities metro in the late morning. The National Weather Service says some areas within the snow-band could see up to 15 inches of snow before the system moves out late Monday evening.

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As of 2:30 p.m., over a foot of snow had already been reported in Owatonna and in Faribault. About an hour before, reports of 10 inches of snow had also come in from WCCO’s Weather Watchers in Mankato, St. James and other southern Minnesota cities.

All that snow, combined with strong winds, made for treacherous driving in much of south central Minnesota, where several counties are under a Blizzard Warning.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is advising that motorists stay off the roads in south central Minnesota due to white-out conditions and tall snow drifts. Portions of some roads, including Interstate 35 near Owatonna, closed due to crashes.

To help stranded motorists, Gov. Mark Dayton ordered the Owatonna Armory to be opened to them and the Minnesota National Guard to assist.

Meanwhile, other areas of southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro, are under a Winter Storm Warning. Drivers should expect difficult conditions, as wet, heavy snow stacks up on the roads.

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The heavy snow started falling in the Twin Cities around mid-day. By the early afternoon, more than 300 flights were canceled at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and more than 150 more were delayed.

Around 2:30 p.m., Metro Transit reported that 60 percent of its buses were running behind, with an average delay of 12 minutes. The light rail trains were running on time.

As for snow totals, numbers will be all over the board in the Twin Cities.

The snow-band’s sharp cut-off line is expected to fall over the north metro. There, residents could see only a few inches of snow while those 25 miles south could see 8 to 12 inches stack up.

In anticipation of heavy snow and difficult driving conditions, many schools, churches and businesses closed and canceled evening activities Monday.

Additionally, many southern Minnesota cities — including Minneapolis and St. Paul — declared snow emergencies.

After the storm system pushes over into Wisconsin late Monday, temperatures will dip down Tuesday into the mid 20s, which is still above average for this time of year.

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Later in the week, another warm-up will bring temperatures back up above freezing. Expect sunshine and melting ahead of the weekend.