Roads were slick statewide and in the Twin Cities metro on Saturday night and into Sunday after sleet and rain turned to snow, leading to three traffic fatalities and many crashes.
"This was a sneaky little event," said Joe Strus, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Twin Cities office. What started as wet precipitation froze on the ground as it started to snow, contributing to slick roads.
Between 0.3 and 0.7 inches of snow fell across most of the metro, according to an NWS map. Northwest Minnesota got up to 6 inches of snow, while southern Minnesota generally got less than the metro.
During the day Monday, temperatures in the mid-to-upper 30s will likely melt much of the snow and remaining road ice. However, subfreezing temperatures Monday night into Tuesday could freeze any lingering melt.
Anne Meyer, a MnDOT spokesperson, said highways were in good shape Sunday, but she urged drivers to use caution, particularly on ramps, bridges and overpasses, which are more ice-prone.
"It is the winter season; slick spots may be out there depending on where you're driving," she said. Meyer said drivers can check their route on the 511 road condition map and check MnDOT cameras to see conditions on specific roads.
Two fatal crashes outstate
State Patrol posted that there had been 238 crashes in Minnesota between 9 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday; 30 of them involved injuries.
State Patrol's incident report website lists two fatal crashes in greater Minnesota since Saturday afternoon:
- Levi Charles Greenwood, 20, of Hibbing, died Saturday afternoon following a two-vehicle head-on crash in Calumet in Itasca County. His vehicle entered the oncoming traffic lane and collided with a semitrailer. The other driver was taken to the hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. Road conditions were listed as wet.
- Emiliano Rashid Kosnopfal, 21, of Dover, died after losing control of his vehicle on Interstate 90 in icy conditions and rolling into the median in Worthington Township Saturday evening. He was not wearing a seat belt.
In addition, State Patrol listed 106 vehicle spinouts and two jackknifed semis in its post.
One traffic death in Minneapolis and St. Paul
Many residential roads were icy early Sunday in St. Paul, while main roads tended to be less hazardous. In Bloomington, a man died after the SUV he was driving veered off Interstate 494 in Bloomington and crashed into a fence on icy roads late Saturday. A passenger was unhurt.
St. Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw wrote in an email that the city brought in extra staff to deal with refreeze, focusing Sunday on bridges, arterials/collectors and hills, he said.
"We urge caution everywhere," he said, but especially on east-west streets, which tend to get less sun.
In Minneapolis, city spokesperson Sarah McKenzie said crews have been out treating slippery spots, including arterial streets and hills.