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Car fire, spinouts slow snowy commute

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Snowy commute
Westbound traffic on a snowy Highway 36 in Roseville, Minn. Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014.
Jeffrey Thompson / MPR News

The morning snowfall that prompted snow emergencies in both Minneapolis and St. Paul also made for a messy morning commute in the Twin Cities.

Since 5 a.m., the Minnesota State Patrol has responded to 230 crashes. There were 25 reported injuries, but no serious ones or fatalities, 

Minnesota Department of Transportation officials categorized more than a dozen freeways in the metro area as having  "difficult driving conditions."  

• Updraft: Sub-zero temps again tonight

A car was engulfed in flames on southbound U.S. Highway 169 in the 5 a.m. hour and caused a closure near its intersection with Interstate 94 West in Brooklyn Park.  The driver was pulled from the vehicle and taken to North Memorial Medical Center with serious but non-life threatening injuries, according to a tweet from Minnesota State Patrol spokesman Eric Roeske.

Several cars and trucks crashed into each other and spun off the road, causing a chain reaction series of crashes and cars scattered on Interstate 35 at Highway 8 in Forest Lake. 

A MnDOT video (click image below to watch) of the scene shows cars appearing to be slowing down to avoid the stopped vehicles, and instead spinning out or crashing. The freeway was temporarily closed until vehicles were cleared out, according to a Tweet from Minnesota State Patrol spokesman Eric Roeske.

Heavy snow this morning has caused about two dozen flight delays and a dozen cancelations for flights scheduled to depart from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

But the bigger issue is people getting to the airport, said Melissa Scovronski, commission spokeswoman.

"I know that that's what probably kept people from getting to their flights today is that if they don't give enough time from home to the airport,"  said Scovronski.

As of 10:30 a.m., 60 percent of Metro Transit buses are delayed. The average delay is 16 minutes, according to a Tweet from Metro Transit. There are weather detours for routes 21, 63K and 65. Light rail trains are running on time.

Snow began falling in the metro area around 4 a.m.,  according to National Weather Service reports

A total of four to six inches are expected between by noon, ending early this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service forecast.