The heavy snow that walloped the metro area overnight will prove problematic for morning commuters, as the flakes continue to fall in some parts.

The volume of snow as well as below-freezing temperatures and heavy wind gusts means motorists are likely to encounter slick roadways, clogged traffic and visibility issues.

National Weather Service recorded 11.3 inches in Hutchinson, 10.3 inches in Buffalo, 9.8 inches in Big Lake, 8 inches in Shoreview and Butterfield, and 7.5 inches in Eden Prairie and Watertown. 

Downtown Minneapolis received 7.3 inches, while 5 inches was recorded at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Other totals: 7.1 inches in Victoria and Chanhassen, 7 inches in Winthrop, 6.5 inches in Blaine, Maple Grove and Glencoe, 6.2 inches in Monticello, 6 inches in Shakopee and 5.5 inches in Robbinsdale.

By 6 a.m. Friday, more than two dozens flights from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had been canceled or delayed.

The weather appeared to trip up many metro motorists overnight as the MnDOT reported numerous vehicle spinouts and crashes before and after midnight.

Kevin Gutknecht, Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman, took to Twitter before sunrise to plead with motorists to drive slowly and give plows room to work. He also warned that ice was underneath the snow.

In Carver County, nearly 50 Xcel Energy customers in Watertown experienced a power outage beginning at around 9:45 a.m. Thursday that lasted for several hours after a pole was damaged by a vehicle accident.

Not much melting is expected Friday, as the forecast calls for cloudy skies and temperatures only slightly above freezing.

But that shouldn’t hamper afternoon commuters, according to Shawn DeVinny, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.

“The roads should get into good shape pretty quickly because the chemicals will work better,” DeVinny said

The high temperature Saturday is likely to hit 45 degrees and move into the 50s by Monday, flirt with 60 by Wednesday and possibly hit 60 by Thursday. Patches of grass showing before Friday’s storm will probably be showing again next week.

“The snow will be just a memory by then,” DeVinny said.

But the above-normal temperatures will be fleeting, as the rest of April looks to be cooler than normal.

“The average high is supposed to be about 50 now and about 60 at the end of the month. But the normals are increasing this time of year, so it is going to get warmer,” DeVinny said with an optimistic lilt in his voice.

He isn’t about to say snow season is over. “That would be a curse,” he said, “and bring another storm.”

A record April storm left 13.6 inches of snow in 1983. Normally only about 2½ inches fall for the entire month.


Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788; Susan Hogan • @StribNightOwl