The early rush hour was littered with crashes and spinouts, including a pair on I-494 in the vicinity of Hwy. 212 and in the I-35/Hwy. 280/Hwy. 36 commons in Roseville. Bridge decks and ramps were problematic throughout the metro as temperatures hovered right around the freezing mark.
To the north of the metro, the State Patrol shut down northbound I-35 north of North Branch where at least one person died in a rollover crash around 5:30 a.m.
As with most climatological matters, the answer is yes — and no.
Sure, it was barely half a year ago that southern Minnesota got dumped upon. In fact, the Minnesota State Climatology Office declared the 17.2 inches that fell on Dodge Center, Minn., on May 2-3 the largest official 24-hour May accumulation in state history.
And now … well, as we like to say, it could be worse. Snow halfway into autumn is hardly unheard of, as those who were around for the 1991 Halloween Blizzard can attest. (Despite the name, that storm dropped more snow on Nov. 1 than Oct. 31: a full 18.5 inches, making it the Twin Cities’ snowiest November day ever.)
Greg Spoden, state climatologist with the Department of Natural Resources, called November “a transition month, a time when we begin to receive enough Arctic air mass for the precipitation to be snow.”
So, by some measures, we’re right on track. The average date for the first measurable snow is Nov. 4, while the average date for the first 1-inch snowfall isn’t until Nov. 18. The only year with an official November snow measurement of 0.0 inches was 1963, although we got only a trace in 2009. And Nov. 5 has brought us fairly large snowfalls, including a record 4.2 inches in 1959.
If you’re tempted to grouse, keep in mind that we’re less than a week away from the anniversary of the 1940 Armistice Day Blizzard.