Storm Closing Schools, Messing With Commute
MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — At least two people have died in crashes on icy roads as the first blast of wintry weather hits Minnesota.
The State Patrol says in south-central Minnesota, a car driver was killed after losing control and colliding with a semi-truck. In a separate accident, the Carver County sheriff's office says a driver died after a vehicle went into the ditch southwest of Minneapolis.
The snow kept many people at home, and those who did head out, had to deal with treacherous road conditions.
Troopers handled 475 crashes and more than 700 spin-outs statewide, as of 7 p.m. Monday.
In downtown Duluth, a 16-car pile-up started when one car slid off the road and the drivers behind couldn't stop. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
In the metro area, traffic was slow going early in the day, with icy conditions leading to dozens of cars sliding off roads
But by the evening commute, things improved quite a bit. Not only was traffic moving along, but there were not as many accidents Monday night as there were in the morning.
Traffic was free flowing for most of the evening commute.
Many employers let people leave work early, so they could get a jump on the expected gridlock bad weather and the evening commute can create.
The National Weather Service says as early evening, 16.5 inches of snow was reported in Cambridge and St. Augusta, 15 inches in Starbuck, 13 inches in Kimball and 12.5 inches in North Branch.
MNDot says crews plan on using plows and salt throughout the night, when the roads are less busy, to clear the way for drivers in the morning.
Some school districts decided to cancel classes Monday, including St. Cloud Area Schools, Albany, Sauk Rapids-Rice and Sartell.
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