The 10.5 inches of snow that fell in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday into Friday, three days before the Minnesota Twins' home opener, was just a hanging curve ball for the crews at Target Field — perfect for hitting out of sight.
The late-season dump that had many wondering if Old Man Winter would ever leave disappeared nearly as quickly as it came.
Workers using hot water hoses cleared the seats and aisles of snow Friday, while others pushed it off the playing field to the warning track, where it was to be hauled away.
"When they took the tarp off the infield, you could just smell the grass," said Twins spokesman Kevin Smith. "It smelled like spring. It was just awesome."
The snowfall briefly reinforced April's poetic reputation as the cruelest month. While most people were thinking spring, the storm dropped 12.2 inches of snow on Brownton, 65 miles west of the Twin Cities, a foot in Coon Rapids and 6.5 inches at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where the official Twin Cities measurement is made.
Normal snowfall for the month of April in the Twin Cities is 2.5 inches. But the 6.5 was less than even last year's deepest April dump of 7.2 inches.
Totals of 8 to 12 inches were common in a band extending from Worthington, in southwestern Minnesota, northeastward through the northern Twin Cities to Ashland, Wis.
But Friday's bright sun and high of 40 degrees in the Twin Cities started what should a be a quick melt. Some wet snow is possible over the next several nights, but the temperature at game time Monday is expected to be 55, followed by highs in the 60s by midweek.
Plymouth declared a snow parking emergency Friday. Minneapolis and St. Paul, however, decided against such a move this time.
"We will not be declaring a snow emergency," city spokesman Casper Hill said with a degree of satisfaction. "With 40s this weekend, just when it gets this late in the year, it's hard for the snow to stick around."
St. Paul public works spokeswoman Kari Spreeman chimed in: "We're happy because the warming temperatures are expected to melt the snow. We're not too sad about that."
Many school districts opted for late starts, but instruction was called off altogether in Forest Lake, Buffalo, Cambridge-Isanti, Red Wing, Annandale, Maple Lake and many districts farther from the Twin Cities and into western Wisconsin.
The afternoon rush hour went smoothly across the metro area. It had been a different story in the morning, however, as major highways and approach ramps were clogged or closed altogether by trucks or other vehicles that had failed to gain traction on icy inclines.
Staff writers Paul Walsh and Tim Harlow contributed to this story.