As the temperature ticked up Tuesday, drivers encountered black ice and there were dozens of crashes, spin outs and stalled vehicles on Twin Cities roadways.
The Minnesota State Patrol was called to 148 crashes between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sixteen of those involved injuries, but none were serious or fatal, said State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske.
The patrol also responded to 37 vehicles that slid off the road.
St. Paul firefighters said the extreme cold Tuesday morning led to at least eight burst pipes and three rollover crashes in the city.
"We have freeze-ups every winter, but not to the volume that we've seen this year," said City Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard.
Authorities are warning drivers to proceed slowly, even if the roads seem clear, and to not use cruise control, while also maintaining a good following distance.
"There were scattered slippery spots due to black ice, and of course, you can't see black ice," said Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kent Barnard. "It's very clear, and it looks just like the pavement."
Around 5:45 a.m., several multiple-vehicle crashes took place on three stretches of U.S. 169.
One involved a seven-vehicle pileup and blocked all three lanes of traffic, southbound at Londonderry Road in Edina, Barnard said. Another in Edina involved four cars going into the median ditch.
In a rollover crash on eastbound Interstate 94 near Interstate 35E, firefighters had to extricate passengers from a vehicle.
In another incident, one vehicle went over the railing and plummeted to the ground below while travelling northbound on I-35E at the ramp to Interstate 694 westbound around 7 a.m, according to the State Patrol. The driver walked away with only minor injuries.
"Basically, it's people driving too fast for the conditions this morning," Barnard said. "This bitterly cold is ripe for black ice to form."
Black ice in this weather is a product of vehicle exhaust hitting the pavement, causing vapor. Packed snow picked up by tires and dragged onto the freeways also contributes, Barnard said.
MnDOT crews hope Wednesday will be warm enough to send trucks out to put salt down, he said. When it's this cold -- anything below 7 below zero, salt does absolutely nothing, he added. In the meantime, crews put sand down today to create grit and traction.
MnDOT tweeted this warning earlier in the day:
With the weather so frigid, heed our advice. Slow down! Don't hit black ice.— MnDOT (@mndottraffic) January 7, 2014
MnDOT reported dozens of incidents on between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Gail Weinholzer, a spokeswoman for AAA Minnesota/Iowa, said the group received 3,000 calls from Minnesota members on Monday, an all-time record. The previous record was 2,500.
As of 7 a.m. AAA received 93 calls, compared to 164 at that time Monday.
MPR News' Laura Yuen and Jim Bickal contributed to this report.