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Wet snowstorm leaves Minnesota a slushy mess

A thick blanket of heavy snow coated the state on Saturday.
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It's perfect for building snowmen, but that's about all Saturday's snow was good for as it wreaked havoc on Minnesota roads.

By 9 p.m., there had been 173 reported crashes across the state, while a further 284 vehicles had been reported as spinning out or leaving the roads.

A further 10 semi-trailers jackknifed in slick conditions on highways and interstates, which prompted "no travel" advisories in western parts of the state Saturday afternoon.

At least it happened on the weekend, rather than on a working day, nonetheless this was the scene in the Twin Cities at 10 p.m., with multiple spinouts and crashes reported across the metro.

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Earlier rain dampened the thick snowpack already covering the metro area, which was followed by a period of sleet and then wet snow, causing localized flooding in streets where storm drains have been covered by snow.

The same happened in parts of southern and western Minnesota, where 10-12 inches of snow fell, after earlier rain had caused rain to pool on roads with nearby culverts still frozen from February's relentless wintry weather.

The slush is only going to get worse as the week goes on, with another major storm system expected in midweek that will bring more rain to the metro.

With the weather (finally) warming up, there's a chance that the dense snow that has blanketed the Twin Cities since January will be mostly gone by the end of March.

But that in turn brings with it an enhanced risk of serious flooding, with concerns already sparked in southern states that the snowmelt could lead to flooding along the Mississippi River.

KSTP meanwhile is reporting that the DNR and the U.S. Geological Survey are working to monitor how much extra water the state's streams and rivers can take over they start to overflow.

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