Storm dumps 14" of snow on the Twin Cities
Shovelers across the Twin Cities are waking up to a peak Minnesota problem Thursday morning: We're running out of places to put all this damn snow.
What's happening: The latest winter storm system dumped another 14.9 inches — more than an average January's worth of snow — at MSP Airport over two days.
- That's on top of the eight inches the metro got during the pre-Christmas “arctic blast."
Why it matters: While we don't mind the winter wonderland vibe, the heavy snow once again derailed travel, school, garbage collection and more.
- State Patrol responded to dozens of crashes and more than 80 spin outs in the span of a few hours.
State of the streets: Minneapolis and St. Paul waited until Wednesday to call snow emergencies. Snow piled up on side streets and caused plenty of cars to get stuck Tuesday morning.
- Those of you who ventured out probably saw (and hopefully helped) neighbors fruitlessly spinning their wheels.
What they're saying: Minneapolis spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie told Axios that while the city had plows out Tuesday, its practice "is to declare a Snow Emergency at the end of a snow event to get the most out of the three-day process." She added that the city wanted to give people plenty of time to move their vehicles.
- St. Paul Public Works cited a similar rationale. Spokesperson Lisa Hiebert told Axios city plows wouldn’t have been able to break from the main roads to clear residential side streets even if a snow emergency had been called sooner, given the duration and volume of snow.
The big picture: All told, the Twin Cities have been hammered with more than 47 inches of snow so far this winter.
- That's 20 inches above what’s normal for this time of year and just a few inches shy of the average total for the entire season, per stats compiled by meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.
Driving the weather: Big swings in temperature, fueled by climate change, have put Minnesota in the "line of fire for storm tracks," Sundgaard explained.
- "This is a place where big swings are fairly normal but not to this frequency, and not to this extent," he says.
What we're watching: We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we're not even at the halfway point of winter: Historical weather data suggests the cities could see another 20 inches (or more!) before spring.
Yes, but: Sundgaard said it would be "very unusual" for this level of precipitation to persist for the next three-plus months.
- "Our snowiest seasons… have snowier periods and quieter periods,” he said. “So will this continue through March? Probably not."
Be smart: The snow, combined with rain and sleet in recent weeks, have done a number on roads and sidewalks.
- So walk, drive and ride with caution: While conditions have improved, there's ice under the snow in many spots.
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