MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As many people are preparing to hit the road or hop a flight Wednesday for holiday travel, the Twin Cities metro area is digging out as a pre-Thanksgiving snow storm enters its final stages.

A large swath of Minnesota, stretching from the Iowa border to the Twin Cities metro and up to the North Shore, remains under a winter storm warning. The National Weather Service has set the warning to expire at noon Wednesday. Although the snow has tapered off in some areas, blowing snow remains an issue as winds are gusting as strong as 40 mph.

According to WCCO’s Weather Watchers, the highest snow measurements thus far were tallied in Waseca, where 11 inches of fresh snow has accumulated since the storm descended on Minnesota Tuesday evening.

In response to the storm, dozens of schools cancelled or delayed classes, including St. Paul Public Schools and the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus. Additionally, both Minneapolis and St. Paul declared snow emergencies, with rules going into effect Wednesday night.

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, roads in most of the state are covered with snow. Motorists are advised to take their time and drive with caution.

Indeed, the Minnesota State Patrol says more than 600 crashes and spin-outs have been reported in the state since the snow started falling. In those crashes, 16 people were hurt, but none seriously.

The snow started falling around 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Twin Cities metro and is expected to taper off late Wednesday morning.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where dozens of flights were delayed or cancelled Wednesday, reported more than 8 inches of snow. Most of the cancelled or delayed flights were to locations in Minnesota or other parts of the Upper Midwest.

According to the National Weather Service, the pre-Thankgiving storm set a new record in the Twin Cities, making it the wettest year on record. So far in 2019, the Twin Cities has seen a record annual precipitation total of 40.81 inches.

The previous record was 40.32 inches in 2016.

According to WCCO meteorologist Riley O’Connor, skies will start to clear Wednesday afternoon, leading to a chilly Thanksgiving on Thursday, when high temperatures look to only reach the upper 20s. Following Thanksgiving will be another chance for snow, with a wintry mix in the forecast for Friday and Saturday.

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