Winter storm hits Northland; 18 inches reported near Finland
All of Northeastern Minnesota is under a winter storm warning until 9 a.m. Friday. Douglas and Bayfield counties in Wisconsin are under a winter storm warning until noon Friday.
According to the National Weather Service, Northland snow totals as of noon generally ranged from 18 inches near Finland to 10 inches near Silver Bay to about 1.5 inches east of Superior, where some of the precipitation fell as rain.
The 10-inch report from a Weather Service spotter was about 12 miles northwest of Silver Bay along Lake County Highway 11, with that road nearly impassable in a four-wheel-drive truck, the spotter reported.
The official snow tally at Duluth International Airport was 6 inches at 3 p.m. Thursday.
The Weather Service expected another 4-8 inches overnight through Friday morning in Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Lake, Cook and southern St. Louis counties, with the highest totals expected in the Grand Marais area and along the South Shore.
Roads across the region were snow-covered and slippery Thursday, according to the Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of Transportation. Travel was not advised on multiple roads Thursday night in Carlton and Itasca counties, most notably U.S. Highway 2 between Saginaw and Deer River.
There were 17 reports of cars in ditches and two accidents reported between 8:48 a.m. Thursday and 5 a.m. Friday in Douglas County, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
Flights were running more or less smoothly at the Duluth airport, with a couple of arrivals and departures delayed only by 10-15 minutes, according to Natalie Peterson, airport communications and marketing director.
Once the storm moves away from the area later Friday, temperatures are expected to drop, the Weather Service said.
The forecast Friday night into Saturday for Duluth calls for lows just below zero and highs in the teens. Wind chills by Saturday could be as low as 20 degrees below zero, said Steve Gohde, observing program leader for the National Weather Service in Duluth.
Slippery conditions cause crashes throughout Minnesota
The Minnesota State Patrol reported that between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday there were 270 crashes with 20 causing injuries, 270 vehicle spinouts and eight jackknifed semis statewide.
The State Patrol is asking for the public’s help in locating one semi driver who left the scene of a crash after hitting a trooper’s squad car Wednesday night on Interstate 94 westbound at Mounds Boulevard in St. Paul.
The trooper had his squad’s emergency lights activated and was pulling up behind several crashed vehicles at about 9:25 p.m. when the semi sideswiped the trooper’s squad, all of which was captured on dash cam video.
The semi is red and has damage to the front passenger side with a white trailer. It was driven by a man who was approximately 50 to 60 years old, according to police. Anyone with information is asked to call (651) 582-1509.