Twin Cities commute will be all-day struggle

  • Article by: PAM LOUWAGIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 4, 2013 - 8:07 AM

Snow is expected to fall through Tuesday, making Monday morning and evening commutes a challenge. A midafternoon lull is expected.

Monday’s commute could be a little messy, both coming and going.

With more than half of the state under a winter storm warning, the Twin Cities metro area was expected to see an inch or two of snow this morning, with roughly 3 to 6 inches on the ground when workers are heading home in the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

And while the metro area could get 6-10 inches by the time it all ends on Tuesday, according to the NWS, up to a foot could fall in far southeast ­Minnesota.

The storm, coming in from eastern North Dakota, will likely ­produce heavy snowfall from northwest Minnesota to the southeast corner of the state, said meteorologist Shawn DeVinny, at the NWS in Chanhassen.

It won’t happen too fast, though. In the metro area, flakes were expected to fall steadily Monday morning, with a lull in intensity in the afternoon, before a second wave of higher intensity builds Monday night into Tuesday, DeVinny said.

It may not be over until midafternoon on Tuesday.

The duration and temperatures — lows in the 20s and highs near 30 — should make it easier for road crews to keep up with the storm.

MnDOT spokesman Kevin ­Gutknecht said crews will be ready.

“We’re going to have trucks out as we always do. We’re going to have people out ahead of the storm,” Gutknecht said. “With snow storms, it has a lot to do with timing.”

Plows can only clear the roads as fast as the traffic is moving, he said. He advised motorists to be patient and plan ahead.

“Most importantly of all, take your time. Drive according to the conditions. Use your seat belts. Put your lights on. Turn off your cruise control,” he said. “All of those things we know we should do but sometimes forget.”

A cold, dry air mass over western Ontario should keep the storm from spreading into northeast Minnesota and the western Great Lakes.

The storm comes on the heels of a weather service prediction for major flooding in Fargo-Moorhead, where residents in the two-state metro area of about 200,000 people have battled high water in recent years. But Greg Gust, NWS meteorologist in Grand Forks, N.D., said precipitation from this storm would be considered normal and is already figured into the equation.

While many Minnesotans are desperately hoping the storm will be winter’s last snow hurrah, DeVinny said forecasters can’t make promises on that.

“We don’t know,” he said. “There’s plenty of time left in March.”

He expects slightly more moderate temperatures, in the mid-30s, to arrive in the metro on Thursday and last through the weekend, he said.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Pam Louwagie • 612-673-7102

  • Up to 10 inches

    Of snow is possible in the metro area, the National Weather Service says.

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