Icy Chaos: Metro improves; refreeze overnight

Update: 1:45pm Sunday:

Temperatures have warmed above freezing as expected in the metro, but remain just below freezing north and west.

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Temps will hover just above freezing in the metro today, but just below freezing northwest.

The freezing rain advisory has been extended this afternoon northwest of the Twin Cities.

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Main roads that have been treated will be in better shape today… but any untreated sidewalks and driveways may still be ice covered in the metro, especially the northwest side.

Use extreme caution walking and driving today, and we may get some refreeze tonight into Monday morning as temps fall below freezing again.

This event shows just how vulnerable UNTREATED roadways and walkways are to ice events.

Even though this was a relatively minor icing accumulation (generally around .10″ in most areas) the IMPACT was large because roadways were largely untreated. There was a good forecast of light snow and/or freezing rain going into Saturday night. Had the roads been simply pretreated they would have been wet instead of icy, and we would likely not have had nearly the number of accidents we saw in the past 24 hours.


Update 12:30am Sunday:

MNDOT and others reporting literally HUNDREDS of spinouts and accidents overnight into Sunday morning. Roads are just plain impassable in many areas. Untreated roads, driveways and sidewalks are glare ice!

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Car off the road at I-694 & Zane Ave.

Here are some storm reports form NWS spotters.

– 1 Se Maple Grove [Hennepin Co, MN] storm chaser reports FREEZING RAIN of E0.10 INCH at 11:10 PM CST — 0.10 inch ice accumulation over past two hours. roads are ice covered and nearly impassable. multiple accidents and roll overs on 694 west bound in the maple grove area. 694/94 east bound is closed due to a multi car accident involving a semi truck.

-Victoria [Carver Co, MN] nws employee reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 10:46 PM CST — significant glazing of roads. numerous cars either in ditch or unable to gain traction.

-Blaine [Anoka Co, MN] trained spotter reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 10:00 PM CST — minor ice accumulation.

-Brooklyn Center [Hennepin Co, MN] storm chaser reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 11:25 PM CST — glazing of roads.

– Victoria [Carver Co, MN] nws employee reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 11:25 PM CST — significant glazing of roads. numerous cars either in ditch or unable to gain traction.

-Annandale [Wright Co, MN] law enforcement reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 11:51 PM CST — many vehicles leaving the roadway.

Conditions will improve by midday Sunday as temperures warm above freezing.


Roads in much of central Minnesota including the metro are like a skating rink late Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

Freezing rain advisories are in effect through Sunday morning.

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A band of freezing rain has coated everything, including sidewalks and power lines. The good news is accumulations will be on the lighter side, generally under .10″ or so. That should not cause widespread power outages due to down trees or lines.

The bad news is it only takes .10″ to form glaze ice on roadways and walkways. Be careful walking! Many ER visits during icing events are from people who fell while walking! Once roads are treated they will be better, but I personally observed several cars skidding and slipping uphill in the west metro Saturday evening. Roads are glaze ice in many areas.

MNDOT reports numerous accidents overnight.

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I-94 jammed at Cretin late Saturday night.

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Highway 100 northbound at Excelsior Blvd also jammed.

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Glare on ice covered MNDOT camera tells the story.

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Accident at I-35 & Hiawatha

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Car sideways on I-494 at Highway 7 in Minnetonka!

Warmer temps Sunday:

The icing should last into Sunday morning, but warmer air will push temps above freezing by late Sunday morning, and that should help conditions improve as the ice begins to melt.

I’m still tracking a potentially major travel headache for Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Snow, wind and cold temps may create a travel nightmare Wednesday and Wednesday night into early Thanksgiving Day.

Right now Tuesday looks like the best travel day before Thanksgiving. Fortunately travel may improve (no big storms) Friday thorugh Sunday of next weekend. Plan accordingly.


  • Dara Walter

    I have been listening to MPR for 90 minutes this morning with no mention of the treacherous ice. I fell this morning because I couldn’t see the ice. I called everyone I know to warn them.

    Just think how many falls might be prevented if the newscasters mentioned the hazard every 15 minutes…..I wonder how many broken bones could easily be prevented?

    Such a simple thing – why is it not happening?

  • Tim

    I woke up and watched the local news and they were all over this ice event. So informed and ready, I CAREFULLY, GINGERLY walked out to my mailbox to get my newspaper, and my first step onto the street and I was on my back….looking UP at my mailbox and newspaper tube (with my newspaper laughing at me from ABOVE) thinking “how did the newspaper carrier drive up the hill on my slick road to deliver you and yet I can’t safely make one step onto it?!” No harm done, but next time I get the newspaper on an icy morning I may consider knee pads and a helmet….and a video camera to document the experience.

  • Kelly

    I’m sure MPR was to busy playing their silly spots about Wait Wait or what’s on Morning Edition come Monday morning to have more weather.

  • John Peterson

    I was listening all morning and every time there was a local break the announcer stressed that it wasn’t just the roads but also the sidewalks and steps that had black ice. I still fell down the front steps getting my Sunday paper because it thought it was wet, not ice.

  • Mark Weinberger

    Yes, of course, it’s MPR’s fault that people were falling on icy sidewalks. I was up early to drive to a local ski area, knew that it was probably going to be icy (it was all over the news on Saturday), turned on the outside lights, saw the glaze on the sidewalk and driveway, very carefully walked to get the paper, and amazingly, I didn’t fall. Amazing what happens when you use some common sense instead of blaming someone else for your own carelessness and ignorance.

  • DNA

    After two slippery steps, instead of going to Unity Church in Golden Valley, I turned around and went inside to listen to Thupten Jinpa and Krista Tippett on Being 🙂

    “Speaking of Faith” was my stand-by when I couldn’t make it to church or the Zen Center on time Sunday mornings.