The snow is plowed, but icy roads still a problemby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio,
Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Most of the snow has been cleared from Minnesota highways, but roads were still slippery Thursday, leading to hundreds of spinouts and crashes throughout the state.
Sub-zero temperatures moved into the state overnight, freezing the moisture that was left in spots along the roadways. Leftover snow on some roads also was packed down into ice.
Minnesota State Patrol troopers responded to at least 50 crashes on highways in the Twin Cities during the Thursday morning rush hour, and black ice was being blamed for many of them.
The other issue was that with the snow cleared off, people thought they could drive faster, said State Patrol Capt. Matt Langer.
"People just get a false sense of security since it's not snowing," Langer said. "There's usually more ice after it snows than when it is snowing."
Tow trucks were having another busy day Thursday, as stranded motorists and people having a hard time getting their cars started called for help.
AAA of Minnesota and Iowa had more than 600 cars towed as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday. On Wednesday, the agency towed or helped jump-start nearly 1,600 cars, said spokeswoman Gail Weinholzer.
The storm that started Tuesday dumped up to 13 inches of snow in parts of southern Minnesota. The Twin Cities received about eight inches.
Thursday was the second day for snow emergencies declared in Minneapolis, St. Paul and several suburbs.
In Minneapolis, 611 cars were towed Wednesday, which is consistent with what city officials have seen in past snow emergencies, spokesman Matt Laible said. In St. Paul, 531 cars were towed and 1,257 parking tickets were issued in the snow emergency, city officials said.
In Rochester, the city asked residents to use off-street parking spaces until Friday morning so crews can finish plowing.
Officials also asked residents for help in clearing snow from around the city's 7,000 fire hydrants.
Jon Turk with the Rochester Emergency Management Department said there's a considerable amount of snow still on the ground in the downtown area.
"They're trying to clear as much snow off sidewalks and along curb edges and get it pushed up into that center median," Turk said. The snow from the median is then loaded into the back of dump trucks.
Elizabeth Dunbar is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.
Elizabeth Baier, based in Rochester, covers news in southeastern Minnesota for MPR News.