MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The combination of wind and heavy, wet snow is proving to be a frustrating scenario for drivers in the Twin Cities, and a dangerous one in southern Minnesota.
While heavy snowfall blanketed the Twin Cities for the evening commute, the weather was finally starting to let up in southern Minnesota by 5 p.m. By the time it was all said and done, nearly a foot and a half of snow fell around Northfield and Faribault, according to WCCO Weather Watchers in the area.
Both Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools will be closed Tuesday.
The wind also pose a hazard across the state, kicking up snowdrifts that’s pushing visibility down to one mile in the Twin Cities. Wind gusts are reaching 40 miles per hour in the southwestern part of the state, and in the 30s in the Metro.
Northern Minnesota might not even notice a snowflake in the sky — the storm’s sharp cutoff stopped just before St. Cloud along the I-94 corridor.
The steady snowfall across the south metro has caused several backups and crashes from the Twin Cities and farther south. Metro Transit says 64 percent of its buses are running behind schedule, with an average delay of 20 minutes.
There’s no relief for those traveling by air, either. Two runways are closed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Hundreds of flights into and out of the airport were canceled throughout the day.
The State Patrol says there were 231 crashes from midnight to 8:45 p.m. Monday. Fourteen of those crashes resulted in injuries, one of them serious. There were 435 spinouts with cars stuck off the roadway.
The snow began tapering off late Monday night, and should move past the metro by midnight. It should move completely out of the state by Tuesday morning.
Although MnDOT crews are working through the night, dangerous road conditions could continue into Tuesday morning, with the strong winds whipping snow on the roads and causing more visibility issues, especially in the dark.
Still, temperatures shouldn’t drop off significantly as the low-pressure center moves east, according to WCCO Meteorologist Chris Shaffer. That means MnDOT’s pretreatment of roads will have a chance to work through the morning, with temperatures topping out at 26 degrees Tuesday — above average for this time of year.
While the morning commute Tuesday could still be a bit rough, Shaffer says crews should be able to clear the roads for the evening as some sunshine takes over most of the state by mid-morning.
There will be a chance for a thaw later in the week — Friday’s high is forecast at 40 degrees, though there’s still time for that to change.