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'Land of ice': Flights, schools canceled; light snow persists

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A spring storm was dumping snow on much of Minnesota Thursday morning. A nasty overnight sleet changed over to snow in the Twin Cities, promising a treacherous morning commute for some drivers. At least 150 flights at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were canceled.

More than 100 schools and districts in the southern half of the state canceled school or delayed start times. A WCCO viewer sent in this pic:

The Minnesota Department of Transportation early Thursday listed roads in hazardous condition from the South Dakota state line to Slayton and Marshall, MPR reported. Much of the rest of the south and west portion of the state, from Alexandria, to St. Cloud to Fairmont were listed in difficult condition by MnDOT, MPR reported.

A jackknifed semi truck on northbound Interstate 694 in Oakdale has closed the route at about 10 a.m., the Pioneer Press reported.

Estimates indicate 3 to 5 inches of snow are expected in the southeast metro with up to 6 to 8 inches in some western suburbs, KARE 11 says. Snow in the metro was expected to taper off Thursday, with up to an additional inch through the day, KARE reports. Some reported being awed by the thunder and lightning that accompanied the April snow shower.

Precipitation likely will snarl traffic through the whole day, the Star Tribune reports.

Ice had built up on overhead light-rail wires Thursday morning and buses were replacing trains on the Hiawatha line, the newspaper reported. Get updates on Metro Transit's Twitter account.

Accidents were being reported around the metro Thursday morning. Crews were out overnight trying to get ahead of the wintry mix, but MnDOT spokeswoman Bobbie Dahlke said the freezing rain made it difficult to pre-treat roads, KSTP reported.

Heavy snow and ice posed a real threat to tree limbs and power lines in many regions of the state.

Gov. Mark Dayton called on the state National Guard Wednesday to assist residents of southern Minnesota after an ice storm knocked out power to thousands of people as the snow fell. Dayton said the storms were stretching the resources of local and county governments as conditions worsened.

Freezing rain on Wednesday toppled trees, power poles and lines in southwest Minnesota, leaving at least 4,000 homes and businesses in Nobles, Rock and Murray counties without power on Wednesday afternoon, the Star Tribune reported.

Worthington was particularly hard hit by the storm as many were without power as the weather got worse and worse. The town's major industries closed Wednesday to help the city conserve power, the Worthington Daily Globe reported.

Mayor Alan Oberloh told the Pioneer Press that several stationary diesel generators were powering the city, though with rolling blackouts. The city of about 13,000 could get power back by noon Thursday, although it could be several days, the mayor said.

One Worthington resident said her child described the city as looking like Narnia, from fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis, WCCO reported. “We are in a land of ice,” she said.

Meanwhile back in the Twin Cities, crews were working inside Target Field to shovel and melt snow even as more fell in an effort to have the stadium ready for Friday's game against the Mets.

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