MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A large storm is expected to hit Minnesota overnight. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, with snowfall predicted between 6 to 9 inches and wind gusts around 35 miles per hour.
The Minnesota State Patrol reports Tuesday night that 81 crashes and 46 spinouts have occurred between 4 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Seven of those crashes involved injuries. Three semi trucks also jackknifed during those five-plus hours.
— Jennifer Mayerle (@jennifermayerle) November 27, 2019
Several state agencies that keep us and our roads safe warned us all Tuesday to take precautions and listen carefully to the advisories.
MnDOT is just one of the state agencies that held a news conference to let everyone know they are ready for the storm.
They have an army of plows and personnel with salt, ready to make sure our roads are safe.
“We’ve got about 800 plow trucks that are going to be out on the roadway fighting this storm. We are going to be staffed by 1,800 operators working out of 150 different locations,” MnDOT’s Acting State Maintenance Engineer, Jed Falgren said.
Mike Gau, a snow plow driver who was hit while plowing last winter, made a plea.
“You just need to give us our room, we don’t ask for a lot, just respect the tow plows,” Gau said.
It’s a mad dash in Minneapolis to get ready before the snow arrives.
“We don’t typically like to get this kind of snow on the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Mike Kennedy of Minneapolis Public Works. “That’s really going to complicate things.”
Yesterday, their trucks may have been out hauling leaves. Now, they are transforming into snowplows. Trucks have been out pre-treating roads with brine, which will make the plowing process a little easier.
“A lot of people think, ‘Oh, that’s going to melt the snow that comes down,’ but no. What that really does it prevents the snow from bonding to the pavement,” Kennedy said.
Over in Hopkins, snow plows will be out starting at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.
“This amount of snow this early is a-typical,” said Hopkins Public Works Director Steve Stadler.
He hopes to get all city roads cleared within 12 hours. One of their first priorities will be the downtown business district, where parking starts at 6 a.m.
“We kind of have to work around, not only the timing of the storm, but also trying to get into the downtown area and get our plowing done,” Stadler said.
If snow emergencies are declared, crews will be working throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. If you are going out of town, be sure to move your car or leave your keys with somebody so you don’t get towed. Tickets are about $200.
MnDOT and the State Patrol say you should always stay at least ten lengths back of all snow plows and sanding trucks, and to always remember to slow down.
Also, be ready to change plans. Minnesota’s Homeland Security Director Kevin Reed told his daughter to drive home from Fargo tomorrow — not tonight.
“We really want you to have a good holiday. We want you to be alive when you get there,” Reed said.
Because so many people are planning to travel over the next few days, MnDOT and the State Patrol brought out an example of a great winter survival kit.
It includes some old standbys: kitty litter in case you get stuck, a snow shovel, and jumper cables; as well as things you might not think of: an extra charging cable for your phone, matches, and medication in case you get stuck.