Many accidents, 4 deaths in season's first snowstorm; cold moving in

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Semi skids off I-94
This photo provided by the State Patrol via Twitter shows a truck loaded with live turkeys after it skidded off Interstate 94 near Dalton on Monday.
Minnesota State Patrol via AP

Updated 4:20 p.m.

The first winter storm of the season has brought hundreds of traffic accidents and four traffic-related deaths.

Two Missouri men were killed in a crash on an icy road in Rice County just before 6 a.m. Tuesday. Abdirahman Abdi, 35, of Noel, Missouri, was at the wheel when his Saturn Ion crossed the center line on Highway 21 near County Road 61 and was broadsided by another car. He was killed along with a passenger, Said Abdi, 34, of Kansas City. Another passenger in the Saturn, Rahma Ibrahim, 24, of Schuyler, Nebraska, was injured. The driver of the other car, 37-year-old Justin Francis of St. Peter, was not injured.

Updraft: Expect mid-January temps into the weekend

Brisk northwest winds from 15 to 20 miles per hour will result in some blowing and drifting snow. Forecasters predict a weeklong deep freeze that could see temperatures dropping into the single digits in central and southern Minnesota by the weekend.

Officials warn that the roads are still slippery, although today's commutes should be easier because there are fewer vehicles on the road due to Veterans Day.

Going for a walk
Alan Hovind walks his dogs Rascal, Roscoe, Morgan and Merlin, along Idaho Street Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in St. Paul. The dogs are corgis, and Hovind said they like the snow.
Jennifer Simonson / MPR News

Minnesota State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske said troopers are still seeing lots of crashes and cars sliding off the road.

The patrol reported 105 crashes and 17 traffic-related injuries during Tuesday morning's commute.

That's much lower than the 475 crashes and at least 700 spinouts across Minnesota between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday. The accidents resulted in 45 injuries and two deaths on Monday.

Mridusha Allen, 30, of Springfield, Minnesota, died when her car slid into the path of an oncoming semi truck at about 3 p.m. in Blue Earth County.

A one-car accident during the Monday evening commute killed a driver in Carver County near Belle Plaine.

Three law enforcement squad cars were also hit in a pair of separate crashes on state highways last night.

One unoccupied squad car was hit Monday evening on westbound Interstate 694 in Brooklyn Park. Roeske said the trooper was able to run out of the way to avoid injury.

In a separate incident around the same time, a semi truck on Interstate 94 in Rogers hit an occupied police car and Minnesota State Patrol squad. The police officer was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, but the trooper was not injured. Roeske said both incidents were avoidable.

A maple leaf fallen on the snow.
A maple leaf still holding on to its color fell to the ground against the white snow on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minn.
Yi-Chin Lee / MPR News

"It certainly demonstrates the importance of slowing down, especially when there are emergency vehicles on the scene of crashes, so they can do their jobs safely," he said.

Air and bus travel are also moving back toward normal schedules. Metro Transit reported Tuesday morning that just about half of all buses are running on time, with average delays of just about eight minutes.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which saw about 175 cancellations yesterday, is now posting only about two dozen canceled flights, according to spokesperson Patrick Hogan.

The airport is still down to just two runways due to precipitation on Tuesday morning, but Hogan said they expect to open up more runways again by this afternoon.

Schools are also mostly back on schedule. There are only a handful of closings today, mostly in western Wisconsin, although many schools were still running two hours late, particularly in central and west central Minnesota.

Snowfall totals have varied widely across the state, with the area around St. Cloud among the hardest hit.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport reported just 2.6 inches of snow, while St. Augusta, south of St. Cloud, received almost 17 inches of snow.

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