Live-blogging: The storm

4:41 p.m. — Minneapolis has now declared a snow emergency. Get the particulars here. Please don’t make me do one of those “let’s talk to people at the impound lot” stories. Unless there’s new info coming in, I may retire the live blog at this point to keep the snow emergency info up top. Observation: For a storm that hit at a bad time for commuters, things appear to have gone relatively well this evening. Frustrating, yes, but nowhere near as mind-boggling as earlier, smaller, storms. Talk about your commute below. I have to go blow some snow now.

4:31 p.m. – Here’s the particulars on the St. Paul snow emergency:

On Thursday, February 26, 2009, beginning at 9:00 P.M., all NIGHT PLOW ROUTES will be plowed. Included are all arterial or main streets posted with signs that say “NIGHT PLOW ROUTE” and one side of all north-south residential streets posted with signs that say “NIGHT PLOW ROUTE-THIS SIDE OF STREET”.


On Friday, February 27, 2009, beginning at 8:00 A.M. all DAY PLOW ROUTES will be plowed. Included are all non-posted east-west residential streets and the non-posted side of north-south residential streets.

Parking is banned until streets are plowed full width to the curb. There will be tagging and towing ahead of the plows starting immediately at 9:00 P.M. and continuing throughout the Snow Emergency. For more information visit our website at http://www.stpaul.gov/snow

4:14 p.m. – The snow has stopped in the metro, which is great news for the commute. The final total via garage-door-cam is 4 1/2″ which, in the big scheme of things, isn’t that big of a deal.

4:10 p.m. – A better picture. This is looking at the westbound side of 494 over the Wakota bridge. The jackknifed truck was on the westbound side, not the eastbound side. And it’s now been moved to the side and only one lane is blocked now.

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4:00 p.m. - Uh oh. This MnDOT camera picture of westbound 494 at Carver Ave in Woodbury tells me there’s another big problem in the other direction too, from the one where were that jackknifed truck is blocking things. Searching.

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3:56 p.m. – This picture from Julia Schrenkler near the News Cut World Headquarters (7th and Cedar in St. Paul), shows the person everyone hates. He/she tried to get through the intersection, didn’t make it, and now everybody going in the other direction is blocked for a light cycle or two.

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3:49 p.m. – St. Paul has declared a snow emergency. So far, nothing for Minneapolis but keep checking here.

3:37 p.m. – The biggest traffic disaster godawful mess typical metro commuter nonsense chance-to-scare-you area is in the east metro on I-494. A truck has jackknifed at the Concord St. exit of I-494 eastbound before the Wakota Bridge

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You can see the mess.

3:34 p.m. – The Weather Channel person doing live shots from downtown Minneapolis notes, “They don’t mess around here,” when it comes to snow plowing. His disappointment as the snow tapers off seems detectable.

3:27 p.m. – Some flights arriving at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport are up to an hour and 45 minutes late. Many are being held on the ground at departing locations, according to the Air Traffic Control Management Center. Northwest has issued a winter waiver. You can rebook without fees.

3:22 p.m. – Garage-cam hourly update shows it snowed at a 2-inch-per-hour rate in the last hour.

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2:58 p.m. - Paul Huttner says it has stopped snowing in Mankato. Flakes are larger (which usually means it’s ending…. why is that?) in Woodbury.

2:52 p.m. - The Uptake’s Jason Barnett reports via Twitter: “40 miles south of Twin Cities I35 is blocked. All northern traffic stopped. Me among them. :(

Also via Twitter, Matt Abe reports the snow is tapering off in Hopkins.

Meanwhile, I have a shovel-ready project.

2:39 p.m. – OK, here we go. The rush hour is underway, and very badly misnamed today. (h/t: MPR’s Tim Nelson)

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A quick check of MNDot’s Web page shows 5 stalled vehicles closing lanes on various stretches of the main highways.

2:37 p.m. – U of M cancels evening classes.

2:20 p.m. - Paul Huttner says the late start of the storm should keep the total accumulation at 7 inches tops.

2:11 p.m. – Paul Huttner, MPR meteorologist, says southeast metro is getting hit the hardest. He includes Woodbury. Let’s go there now as part of our exclusive News Cut coverage of Snowmaggedon. Here’s the garage-door-cam.

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Almost 2.5″ in two hours. Now our only-on-News-Cut coverage has this exclusive footage from bird-feeder cam.

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More as it happens. Back to you in the studio.

2:00 p.m. – Snow totals so far:

New Market – 5.4 ”

Carlos – 9″ (good thing I canceled my trip to the area today)

Hastings – 1″

Faribault – 3.1″

Zumbrota – 2″

1:51 p.m. - This picture of the MPR News Cut World Headquarters by Dan Olson …

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… has got me wondering. I wonder what it would’ve been like if the Republican National Convention in St. Paul were held in February?

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1:33 p.m. – Interesting “tweet” from a person who says his son’s high school has canceled this afternoon’s ski and snowboard trip due to snow.

1:21 p.m. – “What hath God wrought?” Everybody’s got a video stream pointing a camera out the window. The Star Tribune is the latest. Naples, Florida? Are you out there watching this?

1:12 p.m.Live video from Moorhead (h/t: Than Tibbetts)

12:50 p.m. – Latest from MnDOT:


The Minnesota Department of Transportation advises no unnecessary travel in the following counties: Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, LeSueur, Martin, Nicollet, Nobles, Rock, Sibley, Waseca, and Watonwan . Windy conditions and heavy snow are creating reduced or zero visibility in some areas and snow compacted roads. Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate throughout the day with high winds predicted.

12:40 p.m. – Via Twitter. A live video feed of snow falling somewhere in the Twin Cities. This is the advantage of the Web, of course. Looking out the window just doesn’t cut it, anymore.

12:38 p.m. – 41st St. NW in Rochester:

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12:21 p.m. - Now that the snow is falling, the meteorologists say it will snow quite heavily. Today’s thing to think about when you’re sitting in traffic on the way home: If it rains cats and dogs, what does it snow…?”

12:09 p.m. – Snow starting, innocently enough, in Woodbury.

12:05 p.m. – Matt Wells looks out the office window in Eagan and sees, well, nothing:

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11:52 a.m. – Confirmation from Greg Boone that it’s snowing at Gustavus in Mankato St. Peter.

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11:22 a.m. – Weather Channel won’t make the same mistake three times. Drops the live shot from the guy standing in downtown St. Paul (with his hood on his parka up. What’s up with that?) and does a phone interview with a weather in Mankato who describes the small fall. It’s always difficult to subscribe snowfall without visuals (as radio folks know). But it’s snowing in Mankato. Save yourselves while you still can.

11:20 a.m. - MPR’s Craig Edwards, writing on the Updraft blog says the commute home will be no fun.


As predicted, the snow held off for the morning rush in the metro. But heavy snow, falling faster than an inch per hour, has reached west central and southwest Minnesota. We expect heavy accumulations, of up to an inch per hour, from around 11am to 6pm in the Twin Cities.

I don’t know, Craig, so I can’t kid with him but predicted? Predicted when? Because I got up at 2 a.m. based on one prediction on heard on (gulp) MPR.

11:16 a.m. – Twitter reports it’s snow in St. Peter. You know the drill as thing swallows us, right? Send pictures.

11:12 a.m. – The Weather Channel has a guy doing live shots from downtown St. Paul (looks like near Landmark Center). He’s apologizing that nothing is happening. “Any minute now,” he said a few minutes ago, repeating what he said a few minutes before that.

Studio host, trying to make something out of nothing, offers him a lifeline. “Mike, is Minnesota doing anything to prepare for this?”

10:51 a.m. - This is going to be the second-cousin-twice-removed of all snowstorms, from what I’ve heard over the last few hours. It’s changed my News Cut plans.

The plan was an overnight in Moorhead after yesterday’s News Cut on Campus, and then I was to spend the morning in Pelican Rapids. I wanted to meet the imam of Minnesota’s smallest mosque (it was going to contrast nicely with the story today from Minnesota’s largest mosque. Pure genius, really.)

But the meteorologists — and a News Cut friend in Pelican Rapids — suggested scurrying back to the Twin Cities was a better idea. So after a short nap, I left I awoke in a Moorhead motel and turned on the local weather on the TV (something I can’t do in Woodbury anymore, thank you very much, Channel 17). There were pinks and whites all over the screen. It seemed I missed my avenue of escape.

The backup radar (looking out the window) revealed dry pavement. The forecast said an inch by sunrise, so I drove, accompanied by the radio beating forecasts in three-quarter time and telling me the snow would start in the Twin Cities by the morning commute and when it did, “it would be very heavy.” I drove faster.

After arriving home at 6:45 this morning, I took another nap, and prepared to live blog the day because surely this storm will wreak havoc. So, far, it just reeks.

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  • Mark Jenkins

    Bob,

    Radar looks like the definition of the “heat island effect” for weather geeks, or Homer’s favorite food for everyone else. O.K., it looks like a donut of snow around the Twin Cities.

  • Joel

    It’s been over 12 minutes since your last update…what news??? I’m on the edge of my seat here.

  • Kristen

    Gustavus is in St. Peter, not Mankato. :)

  • mulad

    Yeah, I was wondering if the radar was showing a “heat island” effect or if it was something else.

    One problem with radar is that a straight beam will be near the ground close to the radar site, yet will only be striking the tops of clouds farther away due to the curvature of the Earth. The National Weather Service site has an option to view what’s called a “composite” image which combine the “base” radar sweep that points at the horizon along with other slices of the sky taken at higher angles.

    The composite image can help when looking at snow and other light precipitation, but it’s also comes with its drawbacks since you’re looking at more of what’s happening in the sky and not necessarily what’s hitting the ground.

    I suspect that algorithms used to reduce ground clutter in radar images near the transmit/receive site also contribute to the hole in the center of the picture.

    Anyway, I work right by MN-280 and the snow really started here between 12:10 and 12:15 PM. When I’d checked the NWS forecast graphics last night, we were supposed to have received two inches of snow already by noon.

  • bsimon

    From 77th & France, I can no longer see France Ave, a mere 50 yards (give or take) from my window. If I concentrate, I can see vague shadows moving through the snow, but that’s about it. Its beautiful, but I’d rather be at home.

  • andy

    It’s snowing like crazy in Red Wing now – claps of thunder are muffled by the heavy snow. There’s probably an inch or so, so far….

  • Joel

    What a mess. Once it got started, it didn’t take long to get really bad. Nice day to stay home.

  • http://abookofages.com Eric Hanson

    You should mention the ice underneath. I’m familiar with spring storms but have never seen snow on dry pavement create such a solid smooth layer of ice underneath. People are going out ready to walk on snow and are winding up on their backs very suddenly.

  • Dawn

    Just heard on MPR News that there is a jack knifed semi on 94. Any more info? (Trying to decide best route home!)

  • Than Tibbetts

    There was a eport of a jackknifed tanker truck on I-494 Westbound just after the Waucota bridge with several cars involved. Traffic is reportedly at a standstill in that part of the metro.

  • Tiffany

    Bob,

    From the advanced garage cam I think I recognize that house across the street. I think we are neighbors!

    Keep up the great blogging – I’m stuck in my cube until I think I can make it home within 3 hours.

  • Bob Collins

    Garage cam is located at 2734 McKinley Dr., Woodbury.