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March 4, 2013

Snow coming in stages; 12" possible in Twin Cities metro


The morning commute in the metro area opened with a snowy dusting, and travel times on the highways were suffering a bit as the crashes mounted.
The snow is coming in doses, leaving the Twin Cities and elsewhere in the southern swath of Minnesota to take their medicine and solace in knowing that spring is on the way.
Monday’s morning commute in the metro area opened with a snowy dusting, and travel times on the highways were suffering as the crashes piled up.
In Maplewood, a multivehicle crash on Hudson Road near McKnight Road in front of the 3M Co. headquarters tangled traffic. In the south metro, a crash on Interstate 35W near Crystal Lake Road made the usual slow commute even slower. The inbound flow on I-94 in the northwest metro suffered because of a wreck on eastbound 94 at Maple Grove Parkway.
Snowfall accumulation in the Twin Cities is forecast to be 2 to 4 inches by sunset, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
So far, the deepest snowfall reports were coming south and west of Twin Cities: Wanamingo, Fairmont and St. James with 4 inches, Sacred Heart 3.7, Mankato and Blue Earth 3, and Austin 2. In the metro, Hamburg was reporting 1.3 inches, while Chaska and Prior Lake have 1 inch on the ground.
But as those hard-sell television commercial pitches say: Wait, there’s more.
During the night, the NWS said the metro area could get another 3 to 7 inches of snow. On Tuesday morning, another 1 to 2 inches is possible.
Add it up, and the top end of the range could mean a foot of snow as temperatures stay below freezing.
Some school districts in southern and western Minnesota held off on starting their school day for a couple of hours. Some of those included New London-Spicer, Ortonville, Tracy and Windom. The Cleveland district near St. Peter decided on giving its students a full day off.
Delta Air Lines said it is waiving fees for one-time changes in travel plans for passengers using the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and others in the Upper Midwest on Monday and Tuesday. The other airports are: Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot and Williston in North Dakota; Cedar Rapids and Des Moines in Iowa; Sioux Falls in South Dakota, and Moline in Illinois.

Star Tribune staff writer Tim Harlow contributed to this report. 
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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