Once again, fierce winter weather has closed schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Those districts announced Thursday evening that classes won’t be held Friday because of frigid temperatures and high winds expected the day after a major snowstorm roared across much of Minnesota.
The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, along with Bloomington, St. Anthony, Richfield, Hopkins, Osseo, Brooklyn Park and St. Louis Park, declared snow emergencies on Thursday, putting parking restrictions in place for the next two or three days.
Meanwhile, as snowfall ebbed in many areas late Thursday, winds picked up. In western Minnesota, as well as in eastern North and South Dakota, blowing and drifting snow closed many roads, and driving was strongly discouraged.
By Friday morning, temperatures dropped to 5 to 10 degrees below zero, with a biting windchill that made it feel like 25 to 30 below, said Chris O’Brien, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. The expected high temperature Friday in the metro area may barely eke above zero.
Crashes and spinouts were frequent on Thursday. By 3:30 p.m., the State Patrol said there had been more than 413 crashes, 32 of them with injuries. Eighteen semitrailers jackknifed between 5 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
In west-central Minnesota, blowing snow prompted the state Department of Transportation to issue a no-travel advisory in an area from Willmar west to the South Dakota border and north to Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes. Snowplows were pulled off the roads in the area, not to be redeployed until Friday morning.
Conditions were even worse in North Dakota, where eastbound Interstate 94 from Jamestown to Fargo and westbound I-94 from Fargo to Valley City was closed, the North Dakota Highway Patrol said. I-29 between Grand Forks and Fargo also was closed.
Between 3:30 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the State Patrol responded to 149 crashes statewide, seven with injuries, as well as 294 vehicles spinning out or sliding off roads, as well as 19 jackknifed semitrailer trucks.
A semitrailer truck drove into the back of a snowplow on Hwy. 52 near Oronoco in southeastern Minnesota Thursday morning. No one was injured, the patrol said.
That crash came a day after the death of Enrique Roman Castro, 23, of Chicago, who was fatally injured Tuesday when the car he was a passenger in turned into the blade of a snowplow at the intersection of Hwys. 60 and 61 in Wabasha County. The car’s driver and another passenger suffered critical injuries.
By Thursday evening, several cities reported fresh snowfall amounts of up to 9 inches. Chanhassen got 8.5, Hinckley and Wabasha 8, Burnsville 7, St. Cloud 5.6, Woodbury 5.2, and Red Wing and Mankato 4.
High temperatures Saturday will creep up to near 10 degrees and then move into the teens on Sunday, with more snow possible early next week, O’Brien said.
“We’re stuck in this pattern for the next couple weeks,” O’Brien said. “There is not much change coming.”
Star Tribune staff writer M.L. Smith contributed to this report.