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By WCCO Staff
/ CBS Minnesota
NEXT Weather factors:
MINNEAPOLIS — There’s one more white-knuckle commute on the way Thursday morning, as the storm system that dropped some record snow on Minnesota will finally make its exit after a 48-hour visit.
Wednesday’s snowfall set a new daily record in the Twin Cities: 6.3 inches. The two-day storm total sits at 12.4 inches as of late Wednesday night. For some perspective, January typically gets a total of 11 inches.
So far this season, 45.6 inches has stacked up. That’s just 5.5 inches less than the yearly snowfall average.
RELATED: Minnesota School Closings & Delays | Check Out Live Radar
Light snow will keep falling overnight Thursday, but the low pressure center of this meandering system will finally exit over the Great Lakes and take the snow with it. The winter weather advisory for the metro and much of southern Minnesota expired at 6 a.m.
The metro will add another inch or so of snow by the morning.
Combined with temperatures dipping below freezing, a NEXT Drive Alert is in effect for the morning commute. The evening commute should be less harrowing.
Thursday will also feature some sunshine, with a near-average high of 28 degrees. Temps will cool below average, into the low 20s, with sunshine on Friday.
This weekend looks dry and cool, but not too cold. We’ll warm into the low 30s early next week. No more big storms in sight, for now.
Notable recent weather stories:
This week’s snowfall puts the Twin Cities at over four feet of snow for the season already. There’s only been two times where the total has been higher come 1/5.
The snow had many still clearing their walkways Thursday morning.
“I don’t hate it, to be honest,” said Kris Adams of Minneapolis. “But it’s only the first week of January, so how am I going to feel in a week or two?”
Adams, like others, lamented the massive totals. As of Thursday, there was nearly a foot and a half of snow on the ground.
“It’s heavy! There’s a lot of it! Where do we put it?” She said. “Totally stacking it higher in the back, like in the alley – where do you put it? There’s garbage cans, so many things in the way.”
For others, the snow meant delaying trips – or trips home. Dave Merhai was visiting his in-laws in Minneapolis for the holidays – a trip extended by the winter storm.
“I love it, because in Virginia, we don’t get all as much snow. If it falls a little bit, it melts off the next day. The kids don’t get to see a white Christmas often,” he said. “Every time it falls, It’s like, okay, it’s done. Then you get an accumulation of 5-10 inches more, and you’re like, oh my god, you’ve got to do it again.”
Perhaps one fan of the snow was at Lake of the Isles Dog Park.
“If it wasn’t for (my dog), I’m not doing much outside in the wintertime,” said Peter Greenwood of Minneapolis. “Her exercise at this stage is more important.”
“You can just tell by the general frolic that they do. You can just tell it’s new, it’s different to them,” Greenwood said.
POV: You’re a golden retriever who’s VERY excited about the snow. 🐶 ❄️
Shoutout Maggie and her human Sarah for allowing me to capture this very important journalism. @wcco #wcco pic.twitter.com/z7aveBYYja
If dogs like snow, kids like Phillip Terres and Pearl Geiger love it.
“I’d say just grab a sled and just go for it. Then you’ll find out,” Terres, a fifth grader, said. “But I feel like if it covers half of your door, it’s too much. If you can barely get outside, that’s way too much snow. Yeah. Three or four feet is too much.”
“It’s amazing. I love it,” Geiger said. “When there’s not a lot of snow, you want to go outside, but you can’t. You can, but it’s like, it’s not enough.”
“There’s no bad weather, just bad clothes,” Geiger said.
After days of snowfall and accidents across the state, auto body shops are busy with repairs.
Some say it’s the busiest they’ve been in years.
“I could be here 24-7. It’s been out of this world lately,” said Chad Swanson.
Swanson is a long-time estimator at Ed’s Collision in Maple Grove. He’s seen his share of snowstorms over the years, and he says this one ranks near the top.
Bumper and fender damage are common now, as vehicles slide into each other when winter weather takes over. Some cars were hit harder than others.
“When you get snow like that, that just keeps coming, it’s bad,” said Mike Cox, owner.
Cox said this storm piled on what’s already been a run of busy months.
He estimates there are dozens of vehicles waiting for repairs right now, and because some parts are hard to come by, many won’t be ready for at least two months.
Staffing is also an issue. Ed’s Collision has 12 technicians right now but they could use a couple more.
“With the technician shortage, we’ve been at capacity for quite a while. So we’re pretty much at 40 to 50 cars here at all times,” said Cox.
Cox said he’s hoping Mother Nature gives them a little bit of time to catch up before the next storm hits.
“Winter is part of Minnesota. We love it and that’s why we are here. It’s part of living in Minnesota, you just deal with it,” said Cox.
He said they’re also seeing damage from drivers hitting snowbanks, hardened by ice and below-freezing temperatures.
Make it three months in a row of above average snowfall! It’s January 5…oh I can’t wait to see where we finish the month 🤔 I’ll say, it’s been a very exciting start to my time in Minnesota. #MNwx #snow @WCCO pic.twitter.com/A617wq8BhK
With an additional tenth of an inch this morning at MSP and our office in Chanhassen, here are the storm totals from Jan 3-Jan 5.
MSP Airport: 15.0″
NWS Chanhassen: 15.1″
St. Cloud: 13.8″
Eau Claire: 2.2″ (as of 5:30 am)#mnwx #wiwx
On Thursday, the snow emergency remained in place in St. Paul as plows tackled day routes along the side streets and through the neighborhoods.
People had to clear their cars from the side streets or else they would be towed.
One mom and daughter were trying to get their car off their street near Summit Avenue in St. Paul and ended up with their tires spinning.
“My mom ironically was saying she didn’t want to get stuck in the snow, and we got stuck in the snow,” said Monet Wackerfuss.
Her mom got shovels to dig out the tires from their snow traps, and after about 15 minutes of effort, they broke their van free.
“I’ve actually been in Asia for 5 months, so coming back to this is completely 180 [degrees]. I did not expect to be stuck and getting out the shovel, did not expect that,” said Wackerfuss.
Louisa Bradtmiller spent her Thursday morning clearing the walkway to her Macalester-Groveland home.
“I have a little battery powered snow blower and shovel, my son helps with some of it and my neighbor sometimes comes through and helps with some of it, so it was definitely a team effort, but it also took most of the day,” said Bradtmiller.
Plows in St. Paul are slowly but surely clearing the side streets, but they are leaving a lot of work for homeowners behind as they push piles of snow to the sides, which block driveways, sidewalks and mail boxes.
While it may be a pain for homeowners, it’s a playground for the kids.
“We’re playing in the deep snow and making a bunch of snow forts,” said Rose Olson, who was treating the snow plow piles like mini sledding hills with her friends Calvin and Amaru.
Olson and her friends are using nature’s playground to let their imaginations run wild.
“We’ve been pretending to be animals and were running away from badgers, and then destroying it by sledding down the hill,” said Olson.
For details on St. Paul’s snow emergency policy, click here.
Minnesota State Patrol says that between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., there were 80 crashes, five of which resulted in an injury.
There were 112 vehicle spin-outs and five jackknifed semis.
St. Cloud/Central MN – from St. Cloud to St. Michael – Troopers responding to several jackknifed semis & vehicle spin outs. Drive with caution. This pic I94 WB near Monticello (no inj) 1/5/23 8am https://t.co/UtVIO3kuBr pic.twitter.com/gZcLTlJ4Eo
94 W between Cedar Ave and 5th street got a several issues… car trailer was stuck right in the middle but now moving but the semi behind it in a different lane not moving either. Also a couple of cars ahead stuck on the side of the road pic.twitter.com/USQjIzF7rl
#MSPNumbers Statewide 9:30 p.m. 01/04/23 to 7:30 a.m. 01/05/23: 60 crashes (9 with injury, 0 serious/fatal) & 108 veh spin out/off road and 17 jackknifed semis.
Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools move to e-learning Thursday due to snow and travel conditions.
Check the latest listings here.
This week’s winter storm was a doozy. Here are some insights from the storm.
Snow overnight has continued to add up! Here are a few updated totals as of Thursday morning. #MNwx pic.twitter.com/cd1aEL7GiH
Rollover crash on 35E South near Lino Lakes creating some big backups. @MnDOT says no injuries and should take 30 mins to clear pic.twitter.com/1koVmfmqg6
The NEXT Drive Alert continues Thursday due to snow and ice on roadways. Expect impacts on the road.
Snow showers in the morning will taper off, with some peeks of sunshine expected.
It’s a good shovel day. Do it now before colder air moves in.
We cool below average with sunshine on Friday.
This weekend looks dry and colder.
No more big storms in sight – for now.
Night has fallen, snow is falling, and they’re skating.
“There’s a ton of snow, so we shoveled out a little rink,” said one youngster.
Two of the many Minneapolis children with the day off from school Wednesday.
“I got a phone call at 5:30 in the morning telling me my school was closed,” said Shandai Kurylo-Blackthorne. “We had two full weeks of winter break, so we’re back here at home trying to survive.”
Survival can take many forms, like building snowmen with blueberry eyes, or ripping it down the hills of Powderhorn Park.
“I wanna go back to school but I also like staying outside, because this snow is really good packing snow,” said another youngster.
“The weather is perfect. The kids want to be outside and that’s where you get to see all your neighbors out shoveling the snow, doing all the things. And my neighbors very kindly shoveled for me,” Kurylo-Blackthorne said.
Snowy circumstances do have that funny quality of bringing people together.
“I could do without it all dumping at once, but now we can go sledding, and now we can do this instead of being stuck inside, so I’m a fan. I’m a Minnesotan,” said Molly Fleming-Wolfe.
A lot of St. Paul residents spent Wednesday moving their cars from the main roads onto side streets to avoid a ticket, which was no easy task.
“It’s not all terrible but, at the same time, it’s a pretty big inconvenience,” said Tyler Thiem.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the vehicle, you didn’t have to travel too far to find one getting dug out and moved in the metro Wednesday.
“So I’ve been digging myself out for about an hour and a half, and then I also helped the rest of my neighbors get theirselves out,” Thiem said.
“It’s a lot of work and setting alarms to make sure you move your car on time so it doesn’t get towed in the morning,” Deanna Gish said.
It’s a multi-day ritual that St. Paul residents say is both frustrating but necessary.
“They plow us in completely and then we’re expected to move to the side streets,” Thiem said. “And just getting onto the side streets is a nightmare in itself, trying to find parking there.”
“It’s a little frustrating but I think it’s important to clear the streets off so that people can park,” Gish said. “Most of the people that live here are parking on the streets daily so we need space.”
Another common sight besides snowed-in cars? Snowed-in fire hydrants. That’s why the state fire Marshal says it’s important to “reveal the red” – or dig out the hydrants. That way if there is an emergency, firefighters will be able to find them quickly.
And despite the inconvenience of having to move their cars, people here say there are some upsides.
“It’s not all terrible. There’s a little community building involved with it, a little bonding with the neighbors which isn’t awful,” Thiem said.
Some residents will be getting up bright and early Thursday so they can move their cars by 8 a.m., when the day plowing route begins.
Click here for the latest information on snow emergencies, school closings and delays in your community.
The Minnesota State Patrol said there were 160 crashes Wednesday between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Thirteen of the crashes resulted in injuries, though none of them were serious or fatal.
There were an additional 344 spin-outs and 13 jackknifed semis on Minnesota roads.
WCCO Chief Meteorologist Chris Shaffer says the Twin Cities set a new daily record for snowfall Wednesday — 6.3 inches.
Snow lovers rejoice! This winter is your jam! pic.twitter.com/xrAmcMkVTu
Both the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts will close all buildings Thursday and conduct an e-learning day for students.
From Minneapolis Public Schools:
All MPS-sponsored programs will be closed, including Minneapolis Kids, community education and adult education classes, early childhood programs, athletics and all other activities and events.
Students will receive details from their school and/or teacher about the day’s start and end times, teacher availability to meet with students and e-learning activities.
From St. Paul Public Schools:
Discovery Club will be closed. Varsity athletics games and practices will be decided on a case-by-case basis. All other athletic events and after-school activities will be canceled, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis.
Other cancelations include:
* After-school programs and extra-curricular activities (Flipside, Extended Day for Learning (EDL), etc.)
* After-school events (field trips, open houses, conferences, etc.)
* Family engagement activities
* Community Education in-person classes. All online classes will continue as usual.
* Permits held by outside organizations (YMCA, Girl Scouts, tutoring, etc.) for meetings and activities in an SPPS building are canceled. Contact the organizer with questions.
The snow is also making ice fishing a bit more complicated this year.
When it comes to conditions for the Minnesota pastime, there’s bad news and there’s good news.
It’s a polarizing topic. Some bask in the snow, others bark at it. We caught up with Jeff Heinrichs while he was trudging through deep snow on top of Lake Minnetonka.
“This is a lot and it’s miserable right now,” Heinrichs said,
He says weather like this has a price.
“I do like snow, I just don’t like it on the lake,” he said.
Because atop the lake is his decade old business, Ice Fishing Warriors. He runs rental ice houses around the clock for two months a year. But this year is a bit different, as he could be on the hook, too.
“This season is starting to shape up, wet-slushy mix and kind of hoping it doesn’t turn into the February early-off type thing,” he said.
He’s seen it before.
“We have had two bad seasons out of the 10 years. One season we didn’t get on tll Jan. 15. One season we got off Feb. 15,” Heinrichs said.
So he knows it could be worse, and it could be better.
“When you get that much snow on top, it’s really hard to make ice underneath it,” he said.
So we dug in to the numbers. Heinrichs used his auger, and WCCO helped him measure the ice. It was 15 inches.
He says 12 is the magic number for driving, but in some places the ice is only 7 inches, as the insulation keeps piling up. He says safety is key.
“You should be checking ice wherever you go, you shouldn’t just assume it’s 12 inches wherever you go,” he said.
Heinrichs would like to see 6 inches more of ice, which would mean less snow and more cold.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing some negative temps,” he said.
Heinrichs says the good news is his clients are catching fish left and right, so it’s a good year for biting.
Some people living in the south metro are without heat and lights Wednesday night.
The storm hit power lines in Eagan, Burnsville and Farmington. About 1,000 people were out of power after the storm.
Eric Gehrke is a lineman with Dakota Electric.
“You’re walking up to your waist in snow and it’s tiring. It’s a long day. It is what it is, but we try to get our members on as fast as we can,” Gehrke said.
He’s got 28 years experience working these lines, but this one was a doozy.
“Been up since 3 a.m., first call out. Still got a thousand people out of power,” he said. “I think they’re pulling us off the road at about 11 p.m.”
It’s important work that can be vital. WCCO caught up with Dick Partington of Farmington. His wife depends on electricity for her health.
“She’s got an oxygen machine that we got to have running all the time,” Partington said.
But he says they are prepared.
“We got a backup on that, too, but you always want to be ready,” he said. “Nothing to get too excited over, just get ready.”
Dakota Electric tells WCCO the rain hit and iced over the limbs, then this snow made them so heavy they hit lines, causing shorts. But Gehrke and his team are on it.
“I love my job, you know, so that’s part of it,” he said. “You’re getting people back on and everybody thanks you.”
Following a whopper of a storm, this is one of the snowiest starts to winter on record. Wonder why this storm was so big, and what it all means for the drought? WCCO Director of Meteorology Mike Augustyniak gives some perspective in the video below.
Emergency crews need your help. With snow piling up and more falling from the sky, they are going to need you to clear a path so they can get to work.
“It does add a layer of complexity to an already complex job,” said Hennepin EMS Deputy Chief Charles Sloan.
Snow, ice and all that comes with a winter storm impacts the roads, which can slow down an emergency crew’s time-sensitive work.
“Our ambulances are rear-wheel drive and so it does make it a little bit more challenging and then when you add in parking on both sides of the street and you add in snow plows it does make it challenging,” Sloan said.
Sloan said there are ways you can make sure they can get to where they are needed.
“Making sure that driveways, sidewalks, and steps up to a residence are shoveled if you have some salt and sand mix putting some of that down will also help,” he said.
He added that even when people are trying to navigate snow-covered roads in their own vehicles, they can still help.
“When you are out on the street and you are out driving, be aware of your surroundings, making sure that if you see an emergency vehicle coming up behind you make sure you pull over. Give them enough room and time to pass,” Sloan said.
When every second counts, it’s important to make sure you give the person who needs help a fighting chance.
Also remember to dig out any fire hydrant on your block, so it’s clear of snow and ice. That’ll save precious minutes in an emergency.
MINNEAPOLIS — If you braved the roads Wednesday, it’s likely the worst part of your commute could have been from your driveway to the first main road you reached.
By Wednesday afternoon, streets in Minneapolis northeast neighborhoods remained treacherous.
“I’m going to go back in and just sign on to work. I have an option to work from home,” Jon Rockser said after his car got stuck in an alley behind his home. “It looks like they plowed a little bit, but they didn’t plow right behind my car. I figured like I said I could get over the hump to where they plowed a little bit more, but I didn’t quite get there.”
A Minneapolis snow emergency meant Jon and his neighbors had to move before plows came. For some, the task proved challenging.
“You just have to kind of shovel enough of a runway where you can gun it and hope for the best,” said Kian Dziak as he attempted to clear his car. “Not a whole lot of strategy, just clear the fluffy stuff out of the way.”
“I think I’ve seen like three people get stuck at least,” said Emily Vermuelen. “Kian helped someone today.”
“You live in Minnesota,” Rockser said. “It’s kind of expected.”
Roads around the metro are still covered with varying degrees of snow.
In the east metro and St. Paul area, the Minnesota Department of Transportation says most roads have damp pavement with some slick spots. In the Minneapolis and west metro area, however, there’s light slush on the roadway.
Highway 55 between East 26th Street and Highway 62 has heavy snow on the roadway, along with Highway 3 between Highway 149 and 50th Street East in Inver Grove Heights.
To check the latest road conditions, click here.
Shortly after noon, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport said 113 flights have been canceled on Wednesday. Another 64 were delayed.
Metro Transit said that as of 10:45 a.m., 29% of the buses were delayed by an average of five minutes.
Routes 5, 11, 22, 68M and 294, along with the D line, are on snow detour.
Minneapolis and St. Paul on Wednesday morning declared snow emergencies. Both begin at 9 p.m.
Minneapolis also suspended garbage pickup due to driving conditions.
Other cities that issued snow emergencies Wednesday:
* Brooklyn Park, beginning at 11 p.m.
* Crystal declared a snow emergency, which will take effect at midnight on Thursday
* Mankato, which begins at 8 p.m.
* New Hope’s snow emergency kicks in Thursday at 2 a.m.
* Plymouth declares another snow emergency, full city plowing beginning again at 2 a.m. Thursday
* St. Cloud, parking regulations enforced at 1 a.m. Thursday
* St. James has also declared a snow emergency beginning at 1 a.m. Thursday
* St. Louis Park issued a snow emergency on Tuesday which still remains in effect Wednesday
Many other cities have already declared snow emergencies.
Check the latest snow emergency information here.
The Minnesota State Patrol says there were over 200 crashes and spinouts overnight, with several injuries. There were also three jackknifed semis.
#MSPNumbers Statewide 9:30 p.m. 01/03/23 to 7:30 a.m. 01/04/23: 69 crashes (4 with injury, 0 serious/fatal) & 151 veh spin out/off road and 3 jackknifed semis.
According to the flight tracking website Flightaware, there are already 95 cancelations in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, with another 51 flights delayed.
That being said, the FAA website lists general arrivals/delays into MSP as running with 15 minutes of schedule.
6 a.m. traffic update: more accidents throughout the metro. It’s a mess.
Snow is still falling and roads are slick and in rough shape. pic.twitter.com/H9zFqIgpPZ
Updated traffic information can be found on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s 511 website.
Multiple schools across Minnesota — including in the Twin Cities — have canceled, switched to distance learning or delayed classes Wednesday morning due to the winter storm.
Check the latest closings here.
The WCCO Staff is a group of experienced journalists who bring you the content on WCCO.com.
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