Virtually every Minnesotan had heard the forecasts and knew that a major snowstorm would clobber the state today, but many motorists were still on the roadways this morning when the storm rolled in.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported that 137 accidents occurred in the early hours of the storm -- between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

"We are discouraging travel," said Lt. Mark Peterson of the State Patrol.

The National Weather Service was forecasting that 6 inches or more of snow would fall across much of central and southern Minnesota.

Twin Cities residents made a mad dash Saturday morning to prepare to hunker down for the duration of the storm, stocking up on supplies at grocery and hardware stores.

"We've sold thousands of shovels today," said Larry Frattallone, whose family owns a dozen hardware stores in the Twin Cities area.

Liz Fedor • 612-673-7709