First taste of winter arrives
MINNEAPOLIS -- Finally, snow! For Minnesotans in the Twin Cities metro area and other parts of the state, the Winter Solstice on Thursday brought the first taste of the fluffy white stuff. It's the same weather system that dumped several feet of ...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Finally, snow!
For Minnesotans in the Twin Cities metro area and other parts of the state, the Winter Solstice on Thursday brought the first taste of the fluffy white stuff. It's the same weather system that dumped several feet of snow on parts of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West slowly moved to the northeast.
A number of schools in southern Minnesota started late or closed altogether as rain, sleet and snow caused slick roads. Highway workers salted highways in the Twin Cities metro area in anticipation of ice and snow, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation reported that drivers should be on alert for slippery spots on bridges, overpasses and ramps.
The National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories for parts of southwestern and central Minnesota for both Thursday and Friday, while a winter storm watch was in effect for northeastern Minnesota through Friday night.
Forecasts called for up to five inches of snow in central and northeastern Minnesota, a little less in southern parts of the state.
The Weather Service cautioned that the storm track was changing throughout the day and urged people to pay attention to weather alerts.
The storm hit hard in Colorado and neighboring states, forcing a total shutdown of the Denver airport right as holiday travel began to gear up. About a dozen flights to Denver from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were canceled Wednesday and Thursday morning, according to airports spokesman Patrick Hogan.
Hogan said Minneapolis-St. Paul is prepared for both bad weather here as well as ripple effects from Denver or other western airports affected by the blizzard.
Most cold-weather airports have sensors in the runways that detect when the surface temperature is near freezing, so crews can put a de-icing chemical down, Hogan said.
The airport also has a device with a tire on it that tests how slick the runways are. It also has 42 large metal bins with heaters that can be stuck into the snow. Each one can melt 40 tons of snow in an hour, Hogan said.
And about 700 old Army cots and newer sleeping pads are on hand in case travelers get stranded overnight, Hogan said.
"It's an annual process for us, so we're ready," he said.