Welcome back to wintry commutes; pileups and slowdowns galore

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When Veterans Day arrives Tuesday, Minnesotans may feel like survivors after battling through the season's first snowstorm.

Snow and sleet made a mess of the morning commute and things don't look any better this evening for a wide swath across the middle of the state.

BringMeTheNews meteorologist Jerrid Sebesta says the most difficult conditions are in the northwestern Twin Cities area: "I-94 is especially treacherous northwest of the Fish Lake split in Maple Grove. The freeway becomes nearly snow-covered starting at I-94 and HWY 101 in Rogers.

Look for wet and slushy roads from downtown Minneapolis/St. Paul through the south metro. Snowfall totals are much lower in this part of the Twin Cities, but expect a slower-than-usual commute as well.

Falling snow is possible through the evening metro-wide. However, the heaviest bands are more likely in the northern portions of Hennepin and Anoka Counties."

The National Weather Service expects snowfall totals in the range of 12 to 18 inches across central Minnesota into Wisconsin.

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The State Patrol says troopers responded to 250 crashes as of 4 p.m. Monday, one of them fatal. The person was killed in an accident in Nicollet County at about 3 p.m. Another 16 people suffered minor injuries. The patrol says more than 270 vehicles spun out or slid off roads.

Those even included the occasional snowplow.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is advising no travel in west central Minnesota. The department's map of road conditions at mid-afternoon showed most were covered with snow, with several closed.

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Among the wrecks: A 16-car pileup in Duluth, which Northland's NewsCenter says happened Monday morning along 21st Avenue East when one car ran off the road, and others behind it could not stop.

The station says there have been so many crashes and accidents, local police are only responding to incidents where injuries are reported.

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KSTP meteorologist Dave Dahl says the "hassle factor" during the morning commute was a seven on a scale of one to ten. But winds will be picking up this evening and blowing snow will further limit visibility. Dahl says that could push the evening rush hour up to a 10.

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The Minnesota Department of Transportation has a Twitter feed dedicated to traffic updates, noting crashes and spinouts in close to real time, and updating road conditions.

WCCO has an updated list of weather-related closings.

Flights at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are also affected.

According to the FAA, the snow and ice are causing some arriving flights to be delayed by an average of six hours and nine minutes. To find your specific flight, you need to check in with your airline. Click here to do that.

Buses are getting pulled off the streets early in the St. Cloud area this evening.

So take it slow and safe, folks. And if you can, try to have fun with it.

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