A round of thunderstorms that dumped heavy rain hit just as the rush hour kicked off and they created havoc on the roads.
The problems began with a car fire that closed the ramp from northbound 35W to westbound 494 just after 5 a.m. and then the crash flood gates opened.
A trio of crashes between 6 and 8 a.m. on southbound 35W made the commute miserable as drive times resembled those we might see after a light snow fall. Crashes blocked traffic at County Road 23, Hwy. 10 and Hwy. 88. The real traffic tangler was a rollover in the Hwy. 280 commons around 6 a.m.
From there, things never really got better as bumper to bumper conditions persisted all morning.
Northbound 35W from Burnsville to downtown Minneapolis was a tad better, but the segment from Crosstown to downtown Minneapolis was worse than normal as a Star Tribune truck got caught up on the guardrail on the downtown exits. A fender bender at 28th Street also plugged traffic, which remained thick and still has not loosened.
The spate of crashes also hampered the drive on westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul, with travel times for most of the morning over 20 minutes.
Westbound Hwy. 36 crept along due to the rollover on 35W at Hwy. 280 and State Fair traffic added to the congestion from Edgerton Street to 35W.
A stoplight outage on Hwy. 169 in Champlin at 120th Avenue created a major log jam that had traffic inching along from the Mississippi River bridge. That has since been rectified.
At present, mainline routes in the suburbs are rolling right along, but inside the 694/494 loop that is not the case. Look for very slow conditions on Hwy. 36, northbound 35W, southbound 35W and I-94 between the downtowns.