MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A punch of freezing rain early this morning prompted hundreds of crashes and spin-outs on Minnesota roads. The freezing rain began at about 6 a.m. and quickly turned roads into ice rinks.
Metro Transit suspended bus service during the morning hours, and many vehicles were at a total standstill in the Twin Cities metro area.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation issued a no-travel advisory in the Twin Cities Saturday morning, which was lifted by 12:30 a.m.
Similarly, the State Patrol urged people to stay home if at all possible. They reported that, as of 3:30 p.m., there had been 470 crashes statewide since 5 a.m., with 43 involving injuries. Two of them were fatal crashes, one in Lino Lakes and the other in St. Cloud. Also, 270 vehicles had spun out, and 13 semis had jackknifed.
Picture from Kari Patey, on Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin.
Traffic cameras showed dozens of incidents in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and traffic at an utter stop in places like the Mendota Bridge.
Unless you want to be stuck at a standstill like this one on the Mendota Bridge, stay home! Roads in the metro and surrounding areas are covered in ice and travel is dangerous. Stay in your vehicle and keep your seat belt on if you are in this situation. #mnwx pic.twitter.com/LcuBZu54UH
— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) December 28, 2019
WCCO meteorologist Mike Augustyniak said that only a few hundredths of an inch of freezing rain fell on the Twin Cities, but it was more than enough to make travel by road a treacherous proposition.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport briefly had all runways closed for about 10 minutes Saturday morning. There were multiple delays and cancellations reported.
Even though things were looking better on the roads going into the mid-afternoon, slippery and icy conditions are possible throughout the weekend. People should still drive with extreme caution and postpone travel, if possible.
Sunday looks to bring more rain to the area, before eventually turning to snow going into Monday.