Heavy, wet snow piles up in southern Minnesota

Published 9:44 am Monday, March 23, 2015

The calendar may have turned to spring, but for many parts of Minnesota it’s a return to winter’s snow and ice.

By Monday morning, about 3 inches of heavy snow had fallen over the Albert Lea area, causing schools to start late or cancel.

As of press time, Albert Lea Area Schools were slated to start two hours early, while Glenville-Emmons Schools canceled.

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Slick roads kept the Minnesota State Patrol busy with several hundred crashes and spinouts by Sunday night. Twenty people were injured in those accidents, though none appeared to be in the area.

The Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office received multiple reports of people on both interstates 90 and 35 who could no longer see to drive. There were also reports of vehicles that had gone off the road.

Forecasters say the heaviest snow hit the Twin Cities around dinner time Sunday at a rate of about 2 inches per hour. Nearly 9 inches of snow had fallen in southern Scott, Rice and Dakota counties. According to the National Weather Service, Grand Meadow received 8 inches, Owatonna 7.5 inches and Lake Mills less than an inch.

Temperatures in the metro area are forecast in the 40s this week, so any accumulation shouldn’t be around long.

In Albert Lea, rain is likely on Tuesday with a possibility of sleet after 1 p.m. Rain and snow is expected to continue through the evening bringing additional accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Skies remain cloudy for much of the week, with an additional chance of rain and snow on Saturday. The chance of precipitation is only 20 percent.