Storm: MnDOT advises no travel in much of southwest and south-central Minnesota – Star Tribune

Storm: MnDOT advises no travel in much of southwest and south-central Minnesota – Star Tribune

Heavy snow took a major toll on Minnesota’s roads and people’s travel plans Tuesday, and more was expected through Wednesday, but it appears the worst has passed.

And while this storm packed a wallop, with wet, heavy snow, it’s not one for the record books.

As January snowstorms go, “it’s nothing overly unusual,” said Tom Hultquist, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. “Just challenging.”

Those challenges were acutely felt on roads, including a stretch of Hwy. 169 in Hopkins that had closed early in the evening.

The two-pronged storm will resume during the daytime Wednesday into Thursday morning, with 6 to 7 inches of additional snow by the end of the storm in the Twin Cities metro area, according to the National Weather Service. More than 10 inches will have fallen in the area by Thursday.

Other places could see more, including 8 to 16 inches in Redwood Falls and as much as 15 inches in the Marshall area, the Weather Service said.

Snow falling at an inch or more an hour during Tuesday’s lunch hour covered pavement and put MnDOT plows through their paces. Poor conditions led the agency to issue no-travel advisories for at least 14 counties in southwestern and south-central Minnesota, which were all lifted by 7:30 p.m.

“We are responding to many reports of vehicles in the ditch and vehicles stuck in the middle of the road,” the office said in the alert. “Visibility is reduced and driving conditions are dangerous.”

MnDOT had dispatched a full complement of plows to try to keep roads clear of snow in an attempt to keep up with the snowfall, Meyer said.

Along with the snow, wind at times reduced visibility to near zero across south-central Minnesota Tuesday morning and early afternoon.

MnDOT spokeswoman Anne Meyer pleaded for drivers to lay off cruise control, slow down, keep plenty of distance between them and other vehicles, and give plows ample room to work.

“Staying home is better,” she said.

One MnDOT snowplow went into the ditch on Hwy. 60 near St. James, illustrating how treacherous conditions were.

About 15 vehicles got stuck on snow-packed I-394 near the Dunwoody Boulevard exit in Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon, MnDOT cameras showed. Scores of crashes and spin-outs littered metro freeways and highways as the afternoon commute began.

Traffic cameras captured a handful of good Samaritans helping push a car stuck in the snow while trying to get onto Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park on Tuesday afternoon. The video reposted by Jazz88 KBEM shows people shoveling the deep snow in front of a sedan blocking several cars on the entrance to Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park.

At Minneapolis−St. Paul International Airport, 5.6 inches of snow fell between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Although more snow is expected, the storm’s severity is expected to decrease going into Wednesday and Thursday, meteorologist Ryan Dunleavy said.

“We’re kind …….