Twin Cities residents are finding the rush hour and the landscape altered Friday morning by a fairly minor snowfall that could still be the heaviest of this sneaky-snowy February.
Overnight snow of 1-2 inches in the metro area will be shovel-ready by daylilght and measure 3 to 4 inches by the time it quits for good on Saturday.
Before dawn Friday, metro area freeways were covered with enough snow to completely obscure lane markings. The conditions make extra-long commutes a near certainty as the morning rush hour builds.
By 6:30 a.m., a number of spinouts and crashes were adding to the woes, including an accident on eastbound Crosstown (Hwy. 62) at Penn Avenue S.
On a good note, though, Metro Transit buses were reported to be on time.
Snow plows were out in the early morning hours, but with the snow continuing to fall, the roads are likely to stay messy.
This makes Friday the 12th day this month with measurable snow. If we get 4.8 inches, this would become one of the 10 snowiest Februarys on record in the Twin Cities, following an early winter with little snow and a summer-fall drought.
The precipitation is compliments of a storm that dropped well over a foot of snow across Kansas and Oklahoma on Thursday, closed schools and highways, and shuttered legislatures in five states. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Thursday morning.
But the storm was expected to weaken over Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Two low-pressure centers, one at the surface and the other at about 16,000 feet, had been moving together and feeding energy to one another across the Southern Plains, but they were expected to go their separate ways, spreading the storm’s power over a larger area, said Joe Calderone, meteorologist with the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service.
Four to 6 inches of snow is expected southeast of the metro area, and 1 to 3 inches to the northwest.