MINNEAPOLIS -- Residents in the Twin Cities area dug out from snowfall Saturday that reached almost a foot in some places, while wintry conditions led to a traffic in northern Wisconsin that killed both drivers. The snowfall is the biggest snow this early in the season since early November of 1992!
Authorities in both states responded to hundreds of car crashes and calls for vehicles that slid off the road. The wet heavy snow also downed trees and caused sporadic power outages.
The storm that began late Friday night was blamed for a collision Saturday morning that killed both drivers and left a passenger hospitalized. The sheriff's department in Wisconsin's Bayfield County said the storm produced "rapidly deteriorating road conditions" that likely contributed to the crash.
The Minnesota State Patrol responded to 401 crashes as of 4 p.m, with 45 of them involving minor injuries, Patrol Capt. Matt Langer said. There were no other immediate reports of fatalities or major injuries.
As of 10 p.m. Saturday, around 40,000 Xcel Energy customers were still without power.
Storm totals ranged from 11 inches in Eden Prairie to about three or four inches in some southeastern suburbs like Hastings. The official Twin Cities total recorded at MSP International Airport was 7.7" but a liquid water equivalent of 0.97" making it a very heavy, wet snow.
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According to meteorologist Sven Sundgaard, light snow showers will persist through Saturday night and taper off early Sunday with any additional accumulation under one inch across the metro.
Jack Serier, a commander with the St. Paul Police Department, said officers dealt with 20 to 30 car accidents by about noon, with many of the collisions involving four or five vehicles. Most drivers were being careful, he said, but they were skidding on a glaze of ice that developed under much of the snow pack.
"There was nothing reckless," he said. "But when they hit that ice, no matter what they tried to do they spun out of control."
The snow left the football field unusable at Minnesota State-Mankato, prompting the postponement of the school's game against Minnesota Duluth. School officials and conference administrators were considering their options for rescheduling the game.
The football game between Gustavus Adolphus College and Carleton College was pushed back to Sunday at 1 p.m.
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