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Minnesotans Clean Up After Groundhog Day Blizzard

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Tuesday's heavy snowfall caused the drive to and from work and school to take a lot longer than normal.

Even with the slower driving, there were many accidents. The Minnesota State Patrol says at least 475 vehicles wound up in the ditch. Nearly 563 others were involved in a crash, and more than 50 people were hurt.

People not on the road spent most of the day digging out. Clearing the front steps and sidewalk were the first challenge of the day. Others had to push snow out of the way for the brave people who navigated highways, roads and streets to get to work.

Related: Storm Brings Metro Biggest Snowfall Totals Of The Season

James Namie made it possible for people to find a snow-free parking spot.

"My game plan basically is 15 minutes or less, and it's about what I'm at right now," Namie said.

It took a while for lots to fill up because many had to deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic on slick and snow-packed roads.

"Slow, you know. It still took me 45 minutes to get here," driver Sandy Mauck said.

At Armatage Park in south Minneapolis, their ice rink is one of 47 in the city where parks and rec crews are pushing the snow off the ice so skating and hockey can resume.

Ice rinks, however, are at the bottom of the city's snow removal priority system. Minneapolis' parking lots -- totaling more than 90 -- are at the top of the list. Perimeter sidewalks are next, followed by interior pathways. Those include 51 miles of Grand Round bike trails.

It was a day of neighbor helping neighbor. Cars stuck in snow banks, and tires spinning without any signs of stopping. The snow and ice did a number on parked vehicles.

Some looked like they had been buried in snow for days. Folks that did not heed the call for a snow emergency ended up in the impound lot.

"I was working the close shift so when I got home, all the streets were both full on both sides, so I didn't know that it was going to get plowed in the morning," Sam Philpot said.

Too bad the snow plows cannot help with sidewalks. If nothing else, the big dig out could be considered another outdoor sport for us hearty Minnesotans.

Related: Good Question: How Does The Groundhog Day Blizzard Stack Up?

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