Students in several school districts in southern and southeastern Minnesota have an unscheduled day off Thursday after winter roared back into the state and dropped more than a foot of snow in some places.
Others were spending the day digging out.
Snow was still falling across southeastern Minnesota and central Wisconsin at 6 a.m. Thursday and was to continue through midmorning. A Winter Storm Warning was in effect until noon across southeastern Minnesota, the National Weather Service said.
Roads in places such as Albert Lea, Austin, Rochester, Winona and Red Wing were in “rough shape” and travel was not advised in those areas, said MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht.
At 6:25 a.m., MnDOT reported 10 crashes near the I-90 and I-35 interchange. I-90 from the South Dakota border to Alden in south central Minnesota was snow covered and icy, the agency said.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation had its 102 snowplows out clearing roads in the 11-county southeastern Minnesota district.
Roads in the metro area were generally wet and in “good shape,” he said. He warned drivers to watch out for slick spots, especially on ramps, bridge decks and side streets.
While the northern suburbs and places north of I-94 saw next to nothing in terms of snowfall, the southern suburbs got pummeled with a blanket of heavy wet snow. Savage saw the most with 12 inches followed by Burnsville with 11.5, Lakeville 11, Cottage Grove and Prior Lake with 10, Eagan 9.5 and Apple Valley 9 inches. Across the river in Wisconsin, 8.5 inches piled up in River Falls and 12 inches in Augusta, which is east of Eau Claire, the weather service said.
On Thursday, school districts that called off classes included Rochester, Winona, Dover-Eyota, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Faribault, Medford and Pine Island. Rochester Community College will be closed until 4:30 p.m.
Across Minnesota from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, 171 crashes were reported, 27 of them with injuries, along with 164 vehicles that spun out or went off the road. The call load was tapering Wednesday night, State Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Tiffani Nielson said.
While big snows in March are not unprecedented, this is likely to be the last one for the season, said National Weather Service meteorologist Lisa Schmit. But there could be a few flakes falling on Friday into Saturday, she said.
More springlike conditions will return Sunday with highs in the 40s and touching 50 by Monday, she said.