There did not seem to be much ice under this new snow, Barnard said, and the salt was working well with the relatively high temperatures to keep roads wet, rather than icy, in most spots.
Still, he offered one piece of advice for today that could help.
"It's a great day to do telecommuting -- you know, work from home," Barnard said.
At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, workers put out 450 sleeping mats for stranded passengers who may have needed them, though a spokesman said he doubted that the numbers would go that high.
Thursday morning, about 400 flights had been canceled across the 15 major airlines that use the airport, said Pat Hogan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission. He expected the number of stranded travelers to be "relatively small."
Northwest Airlines canceled 173 of its 1,203 scheduled flights, many of them out of the Twin Cities.
The MAC anticipated that it could keep two runways in operation Thursday night at the airport.
Sun Country Airlines CEO Shaun Nugent said the low-fare carrier had delayed some flights but had not canceled any.
Metro Transit said it might have to consider changing to emergency routes for buses today.
The agency also was intending to keep two to three light- rail trains running throughout the night, though without riders between 1:30 and 4:20 a.m., to keep the tracks clear of ice and snow, said spokesman Bob Gibbons. Each rail car comes with a small plow to clear off the tracks.
In Minneapolis, the noontime snowfall provided the setting for a weather-related crime -- the theft of a snowblower outside a low-income housing complex.
Victorio Ortega, 25, told police that he was shoveling snow around the Hope Community campus in the Phillips neighborhood when two people took the snowblower from a trailer parked along Portland Avenue. When he confronted them, he said, one of the suspects threatened him with a knife.
The thieves then took off, police said.
On Thursday, MnDOT closed Interstate Hwy. 35 from Albert Lea to the Iowa border and Interstate Hwy. 90 from Albert Lea to the South Dakota border. In western Minnesota, MnDOT pulled snowplows off the road because of strong winds and heavy snow, and said that highways in seven counties would be closed until further notice, with more closings likely.
Two people were killed when their car overturned on a slick road in North Dakota.
With as much as 18 inches of snow expected in parts of Iowa, Gov. Chet Culver issued a disaster declaration, clearing the way for state aid.