MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Bitter cold is the main concern in Minnesota after a winter storm dropped nearly 10 inches of snow in the Twin Cities Wednesday.
Here’s the weather recap and forecast:
According to meteorologist Mike Augustyniak, Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport received 8.8 inches of snow, but totals varied widely around the metro area. Maple Grove saw 9 inches, while Shoreview and Forest Lake picked up only 5 to 6 inches. Downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul received about 6 inches, while Woodbury picked up 6 inches. Other areas, like Cambridge and Anoka, saw about 9 inches.
Right across the border, a WCCO Weather Watcher in Hudson, Wisconsin reported 11 inches of snow.
⛄️ SNOW TOTALS from the WCCO Weather Watcher Network varied widely, even within the metro. That's probably due to small-scale bands of heavy snow, but also due to the difficulty of measuring snow in 60 mph winds. Thanks for everyone's reports! #mnwx #wiwx pic.twitter.com/LyjAvP1ZBA
— Mike Augustyniak (@MikeAugustyniak) December 24, 2020
After the blizzard left the state, slick roads resulted in numerous crashes and spinouts on the roads on Thursday. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, there were 346 crashes between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Of those, 28 involved an injury, but none of them were fatal. There were also 333 vehicle spin-outs and 13 jackknifed semis.
Between 9 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday, there were 59 crashes, 153 vehicle spinouts and eight jackknifed semis statewide. Earlier, an additional 217 crashes and 49 vehicle spinouts were recorded between 1 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Two of the crashes were fatal.
Road conditions were so poor, Gov. Tim Walz authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide emergency services during the Christmas Eve Eve blizzard that left some motorists stranded on Minnesota roads.
On Thursday afternoon, the Minnesota State Patrol says that troopers and other agencies are still working and recovering vehicles, after motorists were stranded alongside Highway 12 from Benson to Murdock, in Swift County.
Troopers along w/local Law Enforcement, MNDOT & tow trucks are still working & recovering the leftover vehicles from the last night’s stranded motorists along Hwy12 Benson to Murdock (Swift County.) Pictured are just a few of the many https://t.co/UtVIO3kuBr #DriveSmart pic.twitter.com/Vuwn5aGcsX
— Sgt. Jesse Grabow (@MSPPIO_NW) December 24, 2020
METRO TRANSIT DELAYS THURSDAY
As of 8 a.m., Metro Transit says 30 percent of buses are delayed, with delay times of two to four minutes for local routes and up to 10 minutes for express routes. Follow Metro Transit updates here.
Xcel Energy said about 41,000 customers were affected by the winter storm, with about 99% of those customers having their power since restored. About 500 remain without power.
More than 400 employees and contractors with Xcel Energy responded to the outages, which the company says was a result of strong winds and snow.
WIND CHILL ADVISORIES
Following the winter storm, a wind chill advisory is in effect for most of the state until noon Thursday. Temperatures could feel like -25 to -40 degrees, especially during the morning hours.
“It’s not going to warm up too much. We’re going to have a quiet day,” WCCO meteorologist Riley O’Connor said Thursday morning. “We will have the sunshine if you’re doing any snow clearing.”
CHRISTMAS DAY AND BEYOND
Temperatures will warm up Friday, with the metro area expected to see about 19 degrees as the high. Other areas could see temps in the mid-20s.
Saturday looks to be mostly cloudy with average temps in the mid-20s. Temperatures begin dipping Sunday into Monday, with the latter day seeing temps in the single digits.
READ PREVIOUS STORY FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A storm that began with snow, strong winds and bitter cold into the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota early Wednesday and began moving east was making travel treacherous and grounded flights on one of the most anticipated air travel days since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Blizzard warnings were posted in the region as National Weather Service officials called for wind chills to dip to 35 F below zero (-37C), pushed by gusts of more than 60 mph (96.5 kph). Numerous travel advisories urged motorists to stay off the road and several highways were shut down altogether
“Winter has come to the area,” said Greg Gust, weather service meteorologist in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The storm was centered in southeastern Minnesota and was expected to track steadily toward Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and northern Michigan by Wednesday night. The heaviest snow band stretched from the Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota back toward Watertown in eastern South Dakota, Gust said.
The storm was bearing down on the Twin Cities area Wednesday afternoon, where Gust said at least 8 inches (0.20 meters) of snow was expected. Eastbound Interstate 94 was closed between Monticello and Rogers, west of Minneapolis, for three hours due a multi-vehicle crash and pileup. State transportation officials said the interstate would likely be down to one lane each way overnight and warned travelers about vehicles in the ditch.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul airport had experienced about 300 flight cancellations and 40 delays as of Wednesday afternoon, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said. It was expected to be the third busiest day of the Christmas holiday travel period, behind this upcoming Sunday and Saturday, he said.
“Many people were able to get out this morning, but it could be tough going this afternoon and evening,” Hogan said.
Earlier in the day, a large gathering of people showed up at Hector International Airport in Fargo, North Dakota, only to discover that most of the flights had been canceled due to high winds and low visibilities.
“Today was going to be probably our busiest day since COVID hit or definitely just before Thanksgiving,” said Shawn Dobberstein, Fargo Airport Authority executive director. “Our building was pretty full this morning when American, Delta, United decided to cancel some flights.”
The heaviest wind gust was 62 mph (100 kph) in Fargo, Gust said. Conditions were starting to improve as the storm moved eastward, and Dobberstein was hopeful that flights would resume later in the afternoon.
Authorities in southeastern South Dakota were responding to several multiple-vehicle pileups, including one on I-29 north of Sioux Falls involving at least a dozen cars and a dozen semi-trailers, according to Dell Rapids volunteer firefighter Rick Morris. He said there were several non life-threatening injuries and some emergency response vehicles were stuck, the Argus Leader reported.
Other motorists in eastern North and South Dakota opted to wait out the storm. The Coffee Cup Travel Plaza, one of the few stops on I-94 in northeastern South Dakota, was quiet on Wednesday morning, said Dani Zubke, a worker at the store near the town of Summit.
“There’s blowing snow, low visibility and no travel advised,” she said. “It has been very slow. I don’t know that there are a lot of people out and about. There are times you can only see to the end of our parking lot.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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