If there's a perfect time to have a whopper snow storm, it has to be a Friday night. Most commuters are off the road. The kids are out of school.
So while the storm that walloped Minnesota over the weekend caused hundreds of car accidents and knocked out power in neighborhoods across the Twin Cities and suburbs, at least it didn't come, say, early this morning as everyone heads into work.[jump]
The heaviest snow, between 9-12 inches, fell Saturday in a broad swath stretching from Mankato up north to about Mora, with the Minneapolis and St. Paul generally getting less; 6-9 inches in places. About 8 inches of snow fell at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport.
As of Sunday afternoon, the State Patrol had recorded 471 vehicles off the road, and 45 crashes with minor injuries.
Update: There was one death. John Kennedy, 24, of Minneapolis, was killed in a head-on collision late Saturday on Highway 60 in Blue Earth County. The State Patrol said His 1997 Subaru Outback was in the ditch of the westbound lane, facing east, when it was struck by another westbound vehicle, a 2000 LexusGS300 driven by forty-one-year-old Haiyan Zhong, of Worthington. Kennedy's passenger, Alexandra Moeller, 22, of Minneapolis, was treated and released from a local hospital. Zhong wasn't injured.
By early Monday, about 10,000 Xcel Energy customers were still without electricity, but that's huge improvement from Saturday, when Xcel Energy reported many times that number were left in the dark after the heavy, wet snow toppled trees and branches, taking out power lines. Still without power? Call Xcel at 1-800-895-4999 for updates.
Snow Emergency Parking
Walk out this morning to find your car's not where you left it parked? Check with the Minneapolis Impound Lot by clicking here.
City snow emergency parking rules went into effect on Saturday. That meant business was brisk at the impound lot, since car owners either forgot or didn't know just how serious and downright enthusiastic the city is about clearing streets. More than 600 vehicles were towed on Sunday, almost 400 on Saturday.
Today is Day 3 for snow emergency parking rules. Starting at 8 a.m., your car needs to be parked on the even side of non-Snow Emergency Route streets, or on either side of streets marked with the red sign: Snow Emergency Route. You can also park on parkways.
If you're a newcomer here, or you've forgotten how snow emergency parking rules work, click here for an excellent description from the City of Minneapolis.
Is this early season dump a harbinger of things to come? Just a few weeks ago, NOAA predicted the northern midwest could expect the La Nina weather pattern to deliver us a wetter and colder winter than average, with increased storminess and flooding.
And Norbert Schulz, that farmer out in North Dakota with the clairvoyant pig spleens, recently put everyone on notice that winter in these parts was going to turn "real mean." We'll leave the forecasting to the pros.
Click on the flakes in this weather.com map to see snowfall totals around the Twin Cities:
View Upper Midwest Snowstorm 4th Update 11/13/2010 in a larger map