Residents of Minnesota's Arrowhead region began to dig out from several inches of snow Saturday, their efforts hampered by continued snow showers and fierce winds that triggered gale warnings on Lake Superior.

While much of Minnesota was blanketed with light snow that fell Friday and early Saturday, the heaviest amounts fell in the Arrowhead and in the northwestern and west-central parts of the state, according to meteorologists with the National Weather Service.

Nine inches of snow had fallen in Cook County by midday Saturday, the NWS' Duluth office reported. Several crashes and spinouts occurred on roads, some of which the Minnesota Department of Transportation warned remained slippery Saturday night.

Southern and central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro area, got a light coating of snow likely to melt as a gradual warming takes place over the rest of the week.

Across the state, Saturday was no picnic weather-wise, with winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour in the storm zones and up to 45 mph elsewhere, sending autumn leaves flying and most Minnesotans indoors.

"Strong southerly winds will diminish this evening, but waves will be slower to come down," the NWS in Duluth warned Saturday afternoon. "Waves will diminish to 1 to 3 feet this evening along most of western Lake Superior, but waves of 4 to 8 feet will linger north of Grand Marais into the overnight hours."

Meanwhile, North Dakota began to dig out from a blizzard that dumped more than 2 feet of snow in parts of the state. Early Saturday, the state Transportation Department reopened Interstate 29 from Fargo to the Canadian border, but throughout the day, authorities continued to advise no travel throughout much of the state, citing lingering snow and fierce winds.

Hwy. 2 from Rugby to the Grand Forks International Airport and Interstate 94 from Bismarck to Fargo were closed overnight and for most of Saturday, finally reopening in the early evening.

Calmer, warmer weather is expected to move in across the region in the next few days, the NWS said.

In the metro area, Sunday and Monday will remain cloudy, with scattered rain showers and a high in the lower 40s. Partly cloudy weather will linger through the week, but by Thursday, Friday and Saturday, highs will be back in the 40s and low 60s.

In the Duluth area, clouds and showers will linger Sunday, with highs in the 40s and 50s later in the week.

The unusually early wintry weather set no records, a reminder that in Minnesota's theater of seasons, almost anything is possible, anytime.

"Did you know that the Twin Cities record high for today, October 12th, is 87?" the NWS' regional office in Chanhassen tweeted Saturday. "Wouldn't that be nice?"

Several hours later, the tweet was still struggling to collect many "likes."

Despite the weekend's tree-pounding winds, there are still plenty of places to see fall color across Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources. For the latest report, go to