A fresh big chill moved into Minnesota Thursday night on the heels of a sloppy storm that dropped a couple of inches of snow in the metro area and far more to the north and southeast.

The snow is over with for the next couple of days in the Twin Cities metro area, with bright sunshine to illuminate the fresh snow. But the warmth will be an illusion as temperatures stay in the single digits by day and fall below zero by night, according to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. And brisk winds will make it feel even colder.

Friday and Saturday will be sunny and cold, with a high around 5 degrees and wind chill values as low as 23 below, the Weather Service said. Friday night's low will be around 11 below.

By Sunday, snow may return, especially in the afternoon, dropping an inch of so on the roads just as fans head home from the Vikings-Saints playoff game in downtown Minneapolis. The high that day will be around 13 degrees.

Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — will be sunny and cold, with a high of only 1 degree in the Twin Cities and a wind from the north and northwest.

Snow stopped falling in the metro area just before Thursday evening's rush hour, but the accumulation was enough to dramatically slow commuters' trips home. The Twin Cities got 2 to 3 inches of fresh snow, which was promptly whipped around by strong winds.

Maple Grove and White Bear Lake led metro area snow totals, with 2.1 inches and 1.8 inches respectively.

Thursday's snowfall covered exposed ground that had poked through after three days of melting earlier this week.

Hours before the snow developed, ice was the issue as the temperature free fall crusted side streets and sidewalks in ice. Mainline roads held up fairly well as the Minnesota Department of Transportation pre-treated highways and freeways.

"I've seen generous portions of chemicals and salt," said cabdriver Chey Eisenman, who by 6 a.m. had already picked up fares in Roseville, Bloomington, Inver Grove Heights and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Thursday morning. "I'm giving my cab a salt facial. I've never seen the roads more pre-treated than I have this morning."

Along with MnDOT, Hennepin County had 71 plows out Thursday morning to put down anti-icing materials.

The weather was fiercest in northern Minnesota, where up to 9 inches of snow fell and strong winds created blizzard conditions in the Red River Valley.

In southeastern Minnesota, where ice and snow made travel difficult, snow totals included 3.5 inches in Winona and 2 inches in Byron.

At day's end, the State Patrol said that from midnight to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, it responded to 274 crashes statewide — 30 with injuries, but no fatals — and 141 vehicle spinouts, as well as 10 jackknifed semitrailer trucks.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768