Scores of crashes and spinouts were reported Thursday night and Friday morning in the Twin Cities metro area and its outskirts as light snow greased roads and overpasses in the area in a season first.
The difficult driving continued into the Friday morning commute as a second band of snow showers rolled through.
Although the snowfall wasn’t expected to amount to much, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reported multiple crashes on its website and Twitter feed.
Crashes around 7 a.m. Friday included one on I-394 eastbound near downtown, another on Hwy. 169 southbound near Hwy. 101, and one on eastbound I-94 near Huron Blvd.
And at 7:30 a.m., MnDOT was reporting a crash on I-494 eastbound in the Hwy. 212 to Valley View Road area, as well as a crash on I-694 westbound near Exit 55/Stillwater Road.
The weather was causing delays for Metro Transit buses. As of 8:15 a.m., 55 percent of buses were running late, with an average delay of 10 minutes. And Blue Line and Green Line "have minor delays due to earlier mechanical difficulties," Metro Transit said.
Hennepin County said its snowplows hit the roads at 2 a.m., spreading anti-icing materials and clearing roads.
It's not just the slick roads to pay attention to Friday morning. It's cold out there.
"In addition to the light snow, wind chills are also an issue this morning, with readings in the single digits above and below zero at 7 a.m.," the National Weather Service Twin Cities said. "Make sure to bundle up at the bus stop this morning!"
Starting Thursday evening, roads were snow-covered and slick across a broad swath of southern Minnesota, with brisk winds reducing visibility in some areas.
No fatalities or serious-injury crashes had been reported because of slippery roads as of 9 p.m., but minor accidents were frequent. MnDOT and the National Weather Service cautioned drivers to slow down and be aware that even a light coating of snow or drizzle — as little as the half-inch that fell in many areas Thursday night — can make roads treacherous.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported that between 5 and 9 p.m., there were 172 crashes statewide, 26 of which had injuries, in addition to 75 vehicle spinouts or vehicles sliding off roads.
According to the Weather Service, the snowfall was expected to dwindle around midnight Thursday in the metro area, with less than an inch of accumulation.
The metro area may see yet more light snow late Saturday and Sunday. Saturday and Sunday’s highs in the metro area will remain in the low 20s. Sunny skies aren’t expected to return till next Tuesday.