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Highway closures to stay in place overnight as snow continues to fall


A strong winter storm that could dump up to a foot of snow by Tuesday night is creating blizzard-like conditions in southern Minnesota.

Winter storm key points

  • 8-12 inches snow projected to fall in Twin Cities, southeast, southern Minnesota
  • I-90 and state highways south of Highway 14 closed overnight. I-35S and Hwy. 14 still open.
  • Minneapolis & St. Paul declare snow emergencies.
  • Pedestrian killed in downtown Minneapolis
  • Drivers warned to wait until conditions have improved.

9:15 p.m. – 370 crashes

In its final update of the evening, the Minnesota State Patrol says there were 370 crashes reported statewide since 6 a.m. Another 309 vehicles spun out or slid off roads. The crashes caused 36 injuries, two of them serious.

8:15 p.m. – Snow up to 10 inches deep

Evening snowfall totals reported by the National Weather Service show the southern Twin Cities suburbs and south central Minnesota with some of the heaviest snow.

As for the metro area, 10.5 inches were recorded on the north side of Lakeville. Rosemount measured nine inches while Burnsville, Bloomington, and Apple Valley each had eight.

In south central counties, Mankato reported 7.5 inches; New Ulm 8.5; and Madelia led the way with 10 inches.

6:30 p.m. – Traffic calming in Twin Cities metro

Things are looking much better on the Twin Cities metro roads than they were a few hours ago – it looks like many offices let workers out early.

MnDOT's live traffic map shows that while traffic isn't moving at normal speeds on major roads as drivers continue to be cautious, most of them are at least moving at a steady pace.

There are currently fewer reported crashes/stalls/spinouts as well.

6 p.m. – Pedestrian killed in downtown Minneapolis

Reports are coming in that the pedestrian struck by a vehicle on Hennepin Ave. in downtown Minneapolis just before 5 p.m has died.

According to WCCO, a woman was crossing an intersection when she was hit, with the Star Tribune saying the vehicle was turning from Hennepin onto 8th Street.

KSTP notes police are unsure at this stage if weather played a role. The driver is said to be co-operating with authorities, according to the Star Tribune.

5:50 p.m. – Closed roads won't re-open tonight

The Minnesota State Patrol says that state highways closed because of the winter storm probably won't be re-opened until tomorrow morning.

Interstate 90 and all state highways south of Hwy. 14 have been closed since 2 p.m. Only Hwy. 14 and Interstate 35S have stayed open.

Here's how the closed roads look on MnDOT's live traffic information map.

5:30 p.m. – Delays after pedestrian hit in downtown Minneapolis

BringMeTheNews producer Shaymus McLaughlin just called in to say a section of Hennepin Ave. has been blocked off by police in downtown Minneapolis, between 7th and 8th streets.

WCCO is reporting that a pedestrian has been taken to the hospital in critical condition after being struck by a vehicle.

Witnesses told the TV station the person was walking in the intersection when a vehicle approached the lights, but was unable to stop.

Metro Transit has tweeted that Hennepin Avenue buses have been re-routed as a result.

5:20 p.m. – Minnesotans enjoy snowman weather

The heavy snow is bad news for drivers, but plenty of people are out enjoying themselves, given that temperatures (currently 30 in Minneapolis) are warm enough for some winter fun.

Star Tribune photographer Glen Stubbe has picked out some younger residents in the snow.

4:45 p.m. – Train hits car/More flights cancelled

Hopkins Police have been on the scene of a crash this afternoon when a car was hit by a train.

It's unknown how much of a role the weather played in this, though conditions are poor there. Judging by the damage shown in the photos put on Facebook by Hopkins PD, it looks like a low-speed collision.

Meanwhile, The Business Journal is reporting that more that at least 160 flights have now been cancelled today at Minneapolis/St. Paul International. If you're traveling tonight, check with the airline for your flight's status.

The Star Tribune has rounded up the metro areas to have enacted snow emergencies so far.

4:20 p.m. – Freeborn county enacts travel ban

Freeborn County – which includes Albert Lea and the surrounding area – is putting a vehicular travel ban into place. It'll start at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and last until 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to an email news release.

It does not include towns within the county, and also doesn't include I-35 or any of I-90 that's located east of I-35.

"The ban will be in place because limited visibility, icy roads, snow drifts and blowing snow have created treacherous driving conditions," it says.

4:10 p.m. – Snowfall levels rising

It's only just gone 4 p.m. but already there's been 10 inches of snow reported in Minnesota.

According to KARE 11 on Twitter, 10 inches of snow has been reported in Madelia – southwest of Mankato – while 7 inches has been reported in Fairmont.

In the metro area, 6 inches has been measured in St. Louis Park, while 6.5 inches has been confirmed in Rosemount, south of the Twin Cities, judging by the following tweets.

3:45 p.m. – Weather service updates its forecast

The National Weather Service has provided an update in the last half an hour to its forecast.

It says that the intensity of the current winter storm will continue well into the evening, and the heavy snow will only lessen when colder air moves in later tonight. It will decrease sharply after midnight, with only light flurries project

However, wind speeds are projected to increase between now and midnight, creating "widespread blowing snow" especially to the south and west in the Twin Cities that will make driving conditions even more hazardous.

Some parts of southern Minnesota may see 12-18 inches of snow this afternoon/evening.

3:15 p.m. – 175 crashes reported since 6 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has just given a press conference on today's conditions. They say there has been 175 reported crashes and spinouts since 6 a.m. this morning.

Of those, 20 resulted in injury, 2 involved serious injuries. Heavy snowfall, drifting snow and 1/4 mile visibility have been cited as the causes of the crash.

A State Patrol spokesperson said this number will rise heading into the evening.

"We are asking the public, do not drive until roadway conditions have improved," they said during the news conference. "Stay somewhere safe, do not make unnecessary trips unless it's an emergency."

The Scott County Sheriff's Office meanwhile has been compelled to make this reminder, which definitely shouldn't be required.

3 p.m. – Minneapolis declares snow emergency

Minneapolis has become the latest city to declare a snow emergency, following St. Paul an hour earlier. Here's a link to the city's snow emergency procedures.

WCCO has this page of snow emergency information for all major Minnesota cities.

2:40 p.m. – Roads covered, delays everywhere

Here's a look at MnDOT's map of current traffic conditions in the Twin Cities.

As you can see, it's pretty bad, with delays on pretty much all major roads in the metro area, and crashes (the points exclamation points) in multiple locations.

Here's the situation in central and southern Minnesota, with crashes aplenty on the I-94 corridor approaching the Twin Cities, and in the Rochester and Mankato areas.

If you've opted to avoid your car and take the bus, you'll be waiting a little longer than usual. Metro Transit says more than half its services are behind schedule.

2 p.m. – More flights delayed, canceled at MSP

As of 2 p.m., 128 flights were delayed and 84 flights were canceled at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.

For more information on in-bound flights being delayed, click here.

Many cities, including St. Paul, are declaring snow emergencies and parking restrictions, so check with your city to avoid being towed.

1:30 p.m. – Twin Cities in 8-12 inch snow range

The National Weather Service has modified its snow totals map, putting the Twin Cities in the 8-12 inches of snow range.

Snow is falling at a rate of more than an inch an hour, the National Weather Service says. Click here for the latest snowfall totals.

All the snow is making travel dangerous (see more below), and has prompted the City of Mankato to suspend city bus service at 3 p.m., including the mobility bus and Minnesota State University, Mankato routes.

Events and activities are being canceled across the state, and some businesses are closing early.

1 p.m. – Roads closing at 2 p.m.

Blizzard conditions in southern Minnesota have prompted the state Department of Transportation and State Patrol to advise no travel in several counties: Blue Earth, Brown (southern portion), Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Martin, Nobles, Rock, Watonwan and Waseca.

And the Minnesota State Patrol is closing some highways starting at 2 p.m.:

The State Patrol plans to give up an update on road conditions at 3 p.m. You can watch that live here.

The heavy snow and strong winds are creating dangerous travel conditions that have caused several crashes and spinouts, and are expected to make a "messy" afternoon commute in the Twin Cities and elsewhere, the National Weather Service says.

Snow could also affect public transportation in the Twin Cities Tuesday evening.

Check the latest road conditions here.

11 a.m. – Flights being affected

The storm is also affecting flights in and out of Minnesota.

Forty-eight flights have been delayed and 53 have been canceled at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.

MSP Airport spokesperson Melissa Scovronski told the Business Journal the "significant issue" with the storm is the wind speed and direction.

The National Weather Service has warned of strong winds ranging from 25-45 mph in the southern half of the state. And if that's the case, it could force the airport to adjust what runways it uses, with the Business Journal noting MSP typically closes all but two runways during snowstorms.

Inbound flights to MSP are experiencing delays averaging 1 hour, 40 minutes, the Federal Aviation Administration's website shows, due to a "traffic management program" that's in effect due to snow and ice.

And the airport says more delays are possible Tuesday afternoon as the storm moves in.

Flights out of Rochester International Airport have also been impacted.

More tweets from the storm

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