MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Winter storm and blizzard warnings persist, as we move into the second part of a one-two punch of heavy snow and powerful winds that’ll make travel hazardous across the state this weekend.
The snow storm entered the southwestern corner of Minnesota mid-morning Friday, with snowfall rates of about an inch and hour. By mid-afternoon, the storm had breached the Twin Cities metropolitan area, though the first waves of precipitation were light in the metro.
The flakes had slowed down in the Twin Cities metro area by nightfall, but WCCO meteorologist Chris Shaffer says there’s still more left to this winter system.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported 171 crashes statewide between 5 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday. Of those, 20 involved injuries but none were fatal. Additionally, 166 vehicles spun out or went off the road, and there were six jackknifed semi trucks.
For much of the day, the Minnesota Department of Transportation had no travel advisory in place for west central Minnesota. As of 8:30 p.m., that advisory had lifted.
Over at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, there were a reported 167 cancelled flights, and an additional 141 that were delayed.
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Snowfall amounts in the state ranged from 5 to 6 inches in places like Sioux Falls and Alexandria and Faribault. Closer to Minneapolis and St. Paul, measurements were about 3 to 4 inches as of 8 p.m.
Lighter amounts were expected in northern Minnesota, save for the North Shore, where more than 10 inches could stack up.
Shaffer said that there could still be more accumulating snow in parts of the state overnight, but the snow should taper off going into Saturday morning.
However, that’s when act two begins, as strong winds are expected to whip up snow, with gusts up to 50 mph. Travel will be hazardous. Expect greatly reduced visibility and large snowdrifts, particularly in western Minnesota, which was placed under a blizzard warning.
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With the wind Saturday will come plummeting temperatures. By nightfall, the mercury will be in the single digits. Officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation say the frigid weather is another element people should consider before they head out on the roads this weekend.
Ahead of the storm, dozens of schools across the state cancelled Friday classes and activities, and a number of cities reported snow emergencies.