Icy and partly snow-covered roads hampered the Tuesday morning commute in the Twin Cities, and for one motorist the slick conditions led to a crash that landed her in the hospital with serious injuries.
A driver traveling on the ramp from westbound I-494 to Hwy. 169 in west Bloomington lost control and ran off the left side of road. Phai Thao, 35, then got out of her car and was standing next to the median divider when a second vehicle came by and lost traction and hit her car. Thao’s car then struck her, said Lt. Tiffani Nielson of the State Patrol.
Thao, 35, of St. Paul, was conscious and able to speak to troopers and paramedics who took her to Hennepin County Medical Center.
The crash at 5:02 a.m. was one of 93 that the patrol responded to between midnight and 10 a.m. Tuesday. That was on top of the 112 vehicles that spun out or went off the roads and three semitrailer trucks that jackknifed. On Monday, the patrol reported 260 crashes, 36 that resulted in injuries plus 430 vehicles that spun out or went off the road between midnight and mid-evening Monday.
Slippery conditions persisted on mainline roads even as MnDOT dispatched 190 plows to clear away ice, snow and slush left behind by Monday’s storm that dropped 6 to 8 inches of snow across parts of the metro area. Totals included 8.5 inches in Prior Lake, 8.1 in Victoria, 8 in Rosemount, 7.5 in Northfield and 7.1 at the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen. Ligher amounts included 4.2 inches in Robbinsdale and just 2.5 inches in Stillwater and 2 inches in Afton.
But that was enough snow for several cities to declare snow emergencies. Neither Minneapolis nor St. Paul have called a snow emergency, but several suburbs did, including Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Hastings, Hopkins, Northfield, Plymouth, Osseo, Red Wing, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Wayzata and West St. Paul.
Public transportation ran as usual, even in St. Cloud where up to 9 inches of snow fell. Metro Bus originally planned to scrub its Tuesday morning Northstar Link service between St. Cloud and the Big Lake rail platform. But later the agency said service to shuttle passengers to the Northstar Commuter line would operate as usual on Tuesday.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport reported eight canceled and 11 delayed departing flights, and 24 canceled and 11 delayed incoming flights Tuesday morning.
Classes went on as scheduled in Minneapolis and St. Paul and suburban school districts that called them off Monday even through the worst of the storm hit well after dismissal time.
“The snow was a little delayed … but as always we stressed the [Monday] evening rush hour was going to be a mess,” National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Ahasic said. “And it changed to snow pretty quickly and came down hard.”
The storm left 6,800 Minnesotans without power. Xcel Energy crews were working to restore power in the metro and the southwestern part of the state.
Winds as high as 50 miles per hour cut visibility and made travel treacherous throughout much of central and southern Minnesota. Difficult driving conditions continued Tuesday, especially in south central and southwestern Minnesota where MnDOT was reporting roads were still snow covered.
“Take it easy on the roads today,” the agency said. “Slow down, avoid distractions and make sure your headlights are on.”
Menahga, in north central Minnesota, collected 14 inches as of 5 p.m. Monday, the weather service said.
Other totals as of Tuesday included 10.6 inches in Minneota, 10.3 in Brainerd, 10 in Chokio, Wheaton and Marshall, and 9.3 inches in Park Rapids.
No precipitation is expected the rest of the week and temperatures will hover just below 30 degrees until Friday.
“Snow will be sticking around longer than what people might like,” Ahasic said.