21 Aug 2014
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STORM AFTERMATH: Motorists Seek a Quicker Afternoon Commute

Monday morning’s rush hour was a commuter’s headache, as traffic crawled on slick highways.

STORM AFTERMATH: Motorists Seek a Quicker Afternoon Commute

Most Twin Cities freeways were in fair condition at midday Monday, a couple hours after one of the most nerve-racking morning rush hours in recent memory.

Commuters across the metro still were stuck in traffic on snow-covered and icy roads heading after the traditional 9 a.m. end of the rush hour.

The Star Tribune says that traffic on Interstate 694 in the north metro was crawling as late as 11 a.m.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m. Monday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation was reporting that most major highways in the Twin Cities—including I-35E, I-35W, I-94, I-494 and highways 3, 52, 55, 61, 62 and 169—were in fair driving condition. Roads were treated, but snow and icy patches were evident.

Authorities were investigating a number of crashes during the noon hour. Among those incidents were a jackknifed semi-trailer on eastbound I-94 between Radio Drive and Woodbury Drive, a pair of crashes on I-494 near exits 59 and 60 and two crashes on I-494 near the Roberts Street exit.

Here is the latest statement from Metro Transit regarding Monday’s commute:

At 10:30 a.m., there are 283 buses operating on 45 routes. About 65 [percent] of buses are on schedule; the average delay is about 8 minutes.

Light rail is on schedule. There are no more scheduled Northstar trips until this afternoon.

On its website, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority says that buses may be delayed Monday because of weather and road conditions.

The wintry weekend weather kept law enforcement and emergency personnel busy.

The Minnesota State Patrol says 654 crashes and 1,299 vehicle spinouts and vehicles off the road were reported statewide between 9:30 p.m. Friday—roughly when the first of two weekend snow events began—and this morning. Of those crashes, 67 involved injuries and one involved a fatality.

A 21-year-old Winona man was killed when the car in which he was riding was struck by a tractor-trailer that lost control on Highway 61 in Goodhue County on Sunday, says the state patrol.

Here are some of the snowfall total reported by the National Weather Service from Sunday’s storm:

• 16.5 inches—Forest Lake
• 14.0 inches—Rosemount
• 13.5 inches—Hastings
• 13.3 inches—Stillwater
• 13.2 inches—Minneapolis
• 12.2 inches—Maplewood
• 7.0 inches—River Falls, WI

Despite the hefty snowfall totals, few schools in the Twin Cities metro cancelled classes or delayed their openings on Monday.

Among them, Hudson Area Schools closed for the day and St. Thomas Academy and Convent of the Visitation in Mendota Heights and Northfield Public Schools had two-hour delays.

In Lakeville, where schools opened as normal despite an 11-inch snowfall, students expressed their displeasure on Twitter.

Here is the outlook from the National Weather Service in Chanhassen for the next few days:

Scattered flurries can be expected across west central Wisconsin this morning. Otherwise, skies will be partly to mostly cloudy with wind chill values near 20 to 30 below zero early in west central Minnesota, to around zero in western Wisconsin. Several weak disturbances will ride southeast along a strong jet stream across the northern United States. Through Wednesday morning, these weak disturbances will provide partly to mostly cloudy skies along with occasional flurries, especially across central Minnesota. After Tuesday, temperatures will once again rise to near or slightly above normal. Normal highs for mid December range from the mid to upper 20s.

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