Rain, sleet and snow made roads treacherous across Minnesota on Monday and into Tuesday, causing hundreds of crashes and dozens of injuries.
Two people were killed in crashes in Duluth and Ham Lake.
A misty mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow fell across the metro area throughout Monday, instantly freezing roads and sidewalks. State traffic officials told people to use caution.
“It’s not the first trip to the rodeo this season,” said Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kent Barnard, who advised drivers to be patient. “Slow down and take your time.”
The second round kicked up overnight, with the slushy mix until about 7 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
About an inch of snow could accumulate Tuesday morning in the metro area, with about 4 to 6 inches from Fargo to Alexandria.
NWS meteorologist Eric Ahasic said the slick roads could hamper Tuesday morning’s commute in the metro area.
The southeastern part of the state might see a dusting of snow, but it is expected to get hit with ice, prompting several school districts in southern Minnesota to start late Tuesday.
The Weather Service said up to a quarter-inch of ice could accumulate on sidewalks, trees, power lines and roads across that area.
Traffic on Monday was lighter than normal, due to the Presidents’ Day holiday, yet the slippery conditions and crashes slowed the commute.
In many of the crashes, drivers lost control on the icy pavement. Scores of vehicles collided with medians, retaining walls and each other.
As of 8: 30 p.m. Monday, the State Patrol reported 388 crashes and 35 with injuries across Minnesota. It also reported 244 spinouts and seven jackknifed semis.
The fatal crash in Duluth happened just before 3:30 p.m. Monday at Hwy. 61 near Brighton Beach Boulevard, the patrol said.
A Buick was heading southbound on Hwy. 61 when it went over the centerline and was struck by a northbound Lexus, the patrol said.
The other fatal was reported on 146th Avenue NE and Lexington Avenue NE in Ham Lake Monday at 8 p.m. involving three vehicles, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said. The driver of one of the vehicles died.
Three other people were extricated from a vehicle and transported to the hospital with noncritical injuries, authorities said.
As of 6 p.m., when the latest updates were available, Minneapolis and St. Paul received about 0.8 inches of snow.
In St. Cloud, about an inch of snow was reported. Barnard also said snowplows will continue overnight and into Tuesday morning to clear off the icy roads.
High temperatures will remain in the 20s through Thursday and moderate to the low 30s by Friday and Saturday.
Another chance of snow arrives Thursday with rain, snow or both on Saturday, the Weather Service said.