A few inches of snow and nearly 500 crashes as winter storm hits MN

The snow is coming. The cold is after that.
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Heavy snow is hitting Minnesota Friday night. Forecasters initially said this storm could bring up to 10 inches to areas by the end of the weekend.

Here's a look at what's happened so far:

9 p.m. – It's still coming

The snowstorm still hasn't hit quite as hard as forecasters had projected. That doesn't mean we're missing the storm, though.

The National Weather Service says southern Minnesota is still on track to get up to 8 inches of snow. A span from Owatonna to Mankato looks like it'll avoid the worst of it, though.

Some areas have gotten a few inches of snow already. The NWS says snowfall in the Twin Cities varies from half an inch to four inches.

Meanwhile, the very southwest corner of the state got six inches. Other areas south of the Twin Cities got 2-3 inches. Areas further north have even less.

Snow is expected to keep falling into Saturday.

You can check out the NWS snowfall map here for the latest totals.

490 crashes

Between 1 a.m. and 8:45 p.m., the State Patrol says there have been 490 crashes and 341 spinouts on Minnesota roads. That's up about 160 crashes since the State Patrol's last update at 4 p.m.

Of those, one has been fatal. That happened near Brainerd. Dozens of people have also been injured in the crashes.

5 p.m. – Off to a slow start

So far, it's off to a bit of a slow start.

The National Weather Service, in a 3 p.m. update, said snowfall totals are down about an inch compared to earlier projections. But still expect anywhere from 4 to 8 inches across the southern half of the state. The pink area on the map below, basically:

It'll be a little lighter along the North Shore. National Weather Service Duluth says snow totals will be about 2-3 inches in the city – then less as you go north or west, and more as you go south and east. It'll be extremely cold though.

Officials have warned Minnesotans to stay home where it's warm this weekend because the windchill could hit minus 35 to minus 45 degrees Saturday.

Crashes are starting to pile up

From 1 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday, the Twin Cities area had seen 362 crashes (most of them in the Twin Cities) – there were 35 injuries, but thankfully nothing serious and no deaths. There were another 216 spinouts/vehicles off the road.

That was before the usual rush hour time of 4-6 p.m., so figures could go up. The State Patrol plans to give another update on crash numbers at 8:45 p.m. You could see more frequent updates from specific accounts, such as Sgt. Jesse Grabow.

As of about 4:30 p.m., roads across the southern edge of Minnesota into the southeastern corner (so the Rochester area to the border) were considered "completely covered" by snow, MnDOT's road conditions map showed. The Twin Cities and west-central Minnesota, up into the Iron Range, was partially covered.

If you have to be on the roads, don’t drive like an idiot: wipe all the snow off your car, wear your seat belt, drive the speed road conditions allow – that’s usually under the posted speed limit, leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you, put your phone down, and give snow plows plenty of room. (Read more here.)

The snow is expected to fall so fast overnight, and forecasters say it'll get so cold, that plows and salt will have a tough time keeping up. So officials are suggesting you just stay inside this weekend, unless traveling somewhere is "absolutely necessary."

And of course, keep an eye on MnDOT's road conditions map.

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