Strong winds and wet, heavy snow smacked much of southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities on the first day of December, leading to dangerous driving conditions and scores of car crashes and spinouts.
The storm, which was advancing northward across the bottom third of Minnesota on Saturday night, reached the metro area around 3 p.m. and wasn’t expected to taper off until Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
The Twin Cities metro was expected to receive 2 to 5 inches of snow, less than what will ultimately cover the southern portion of the state by the time the storm ebbs. Light snow and strong winds will last through the morning.
A winter storm warning was in effect for southern Minnesota until noon Sunday, with the metro area under a winter weather advisory. As of Saturday evening, 2.5 inches of snow had been reported in Burnsville and Eagan, with 3.5 in Lakeville, and 6 in Mankato. Other southern cities were poised to get as much as 8 inches, said Caleb Grunzke, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
The Weather Service urged residents of the southern part of the state to stay off the roads, as the heavy snowfall had resulted in extremely low visibility and “almost whiteout conditions,” Grunzke said.
“If you’re in southern Minnesota, strongly consider not traveling,” he said. “It’s just going to be too dangerous.”
Snow and blowing snow covered most roadways south of the Twin Cities on Saturday evening. No Minnesota roads had been closed as of Saturday evening, but it was slow going on many of them.
By 10 p.m., 191 crashes had been reported statewide, including 18 that resulted in injury. Another 155 vehicle spinouts were reported throughout the day, as well as six jackknifed semitrailer trucks.
Saturday’s snowstorm, which also hit Nebraska, Iowa and the Dakotas, was the largest of the season so far.
The northern half of the state, meanwhile, was likely to be spared any snow, thanks to a system of dry air, Grunzke said.
While the likelihood of snow in the metro is lower during the day Sunday, wind gusts could stay as high as 30 miles per hour, according to the Weather Service.
Sunny skies will return to the metro area Monday, when the high will be 25, with north winds 5 to 10 mph, the Weather Service said. Tuesday will be partly sunny, with a high near 23.
Significant snow is not in the forecast for next week.