Source: Nick Woltman
A second round of snow this week is forecast to move in tonight and continue through the weekend.
Snow will continue into the night, accumulating only about two inches. But it could turn into a wintry mix.
Saturday could bring freezing drizzle as temps rise to around 35 degrees.
Temperatures could drop to the lower 20s on Sunday, and a couple of snow showers could occur.
St. Paul and Minneapolis declared snow emergencies Wednesday as a winter storm dropped up to 10 inches on the metro area, making this the snowiest February on record in the Twin Cities by a wide margin.
Wednesday’s storm closed schools and businesses across the metro area and created treacherous travel conditions throughout Minnesota for the morning and evening commutes. Belle Plaine, southwest of the Twin Cities, reported nearly 13 inches of snow.
Between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday, the State Patrol responded to 208 crashes statewide — 29 with injuries, but none serious or fatal — and 627 vehicles that had spun out or gone off the road.
After briefly closing all its runways in the morning, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport operated only one runway for much of the day, as crews struggled to keep up with the rapidly falling snow.
As of 4:30 p.m., 131 flights had been canceled, according to the airport’s Twitter account.
A FEBRUARY FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
The snowfall was especially intense in the morning. By noon, the airport — which records the metro area’s official precipitation totals — had already received 7.8 inches, bringing the February tally for the Twin Cities to 30.4 inches. By 6 p.m., 8.9 inches of snow had fallen at the airport, bringing the monthly total to 31.5 inches.
Not only does that eclipse the metro area’s previous February record of 25.6 inches set in 1962, it also makes this among the top 10 snowiest months in Twin Cities history. The top month was November 1991, when 46.9 inches fell, much of it as a result of the infamous Halloween Blizzard.
Wednesday’s storm prompted St. Paul to declare its fourth snow emergency this season, but that’s hardly a record — the 2010-11 season saw the city declare nine emergencies.
Wednesday’s snow emergency began at 9 p.m., starting with night plow routes. Crews began tackling day plow routes at 8 a.m. Thursday.
It was also the sixth day this school year the St. Paul district has canceled school. That puts its middle and high schools on pace to fall one day short of the statutory minimum instruction hours.
However, there were no consequences for schools that came up short last year, and Gov. Tim Walz has assured schools they won’t be punished this year, either.
AS SNOW PILES UP, SO DOES OVERTIME
In addition to all the snow, overtime for plow crews is also piling up for some cities — though it’s still early in the calendar year to be too much of a concern, some officials noted.
Still, “If we continue to have large snow events this spring, and then also have significant events in the November and December months, we would be seeing some budget issues,” said Justin Miller, Lakeville city administrator.
For cities over normal levels of overtime, such as Mendota Heights, that could mean being forced to make budget adjustments elsewhere, City Administrator Mark McNeill said.
It also takes a toll on staff. At least 10 employees of the Stillwater Public Works Department have earned more than 40 hours of overtime during the last two-week pay period, said Shawn Sanders, public works director.
“They’ll work through every snow event until the job is done,” Sanders said. “When you’re getting big snows every three or four days, it takes a bit of a toll of them. They’ve done what they’ve been asked.”
Another band of snow is expected to blanket the metro area over the weekend.
The forecast for the weekend shows snow could begin Friday afternoon and continue off and on throughout the weekend.
Temperatures will be warmer, with highs near 30 on Friday, 34 on Saturday and 23 on Sunday. Colder air is expected to return early next week.
Nick Ferraro and Mary Divine contributed to this report.