Slippery roads linger in Minnesota after more than 700 crashes, spinouts Monday

A jackknifed semi along an icy freeway
A jackknifed semi blocks the eastbound lanes of Interstate 94 north of Fergus Falls, Minn., amid icy conditions on Tuesday morning. The highway later reopened.
Minnesota State Patrol

Updated: 1:55 p.m.

Authorities responded to crashes and spinouts on icy roads across Minnesota for a second straight morning Tuesday — but the morning commute was far less chaotic than the day before.

Temperatures were a few degrees warmer on Tuesday than 24 hours earlier, and roads still carried a layer of salt and chemicals put down the previous day.

The State Patrol responded to 140 crashes and spinouts between 5 a.m. and noon Tuesday — including a fatal crash involving a car and pickup truck along U.S. Highway 52 in Fillmore County.

Monday was even more treacherous on Minnesota roads. The State Patrol reported 566 crashes on state highways between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday, along with 171 spinouts and five jackknifed semis.

There were at least two fatal crashes amid Monday's icy conditions, and more than 40 people were injured. The Patrol's numbers do not reflect crashes on city and county roads.

One of Monday's fatal crashes involved an SUV and a school bus.

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The State Patrol said both vehicles were traveling east on Highway 62 near Shady Oak Road in Minnetonka just before 4 p.m. when the SUV lost control on icy roads, hit a concrete wall and then the bus. Both ended up in the median.

The driver of the SUV, a 57-year-old man from Burnsville, died from his injuries. The bus driver and all 22 children on the bus were not injured.

The other fatal crash happened just after 10 p.m. near downtown Minneapolis. A car driven by a 56-year-old Minneapolis woman was traveling on the ramp from Hiawatha Avenue to northbound Interstate 35W when the car left the road, went over the guardrail and hit a bridge pillar. The driver died from her injuries.

Tuesday morning's commute still was slow-going at times on freeways around the Twin Cities, with a few crashes and spinouts, but not on the scale seen Monday.

To the northwest, eastbound Interstate 94 was closed briefly near Fergus Falls on Tuesday morning due to a jackknifed semi.

More snow is expected across Minnesota in the coming days, the heaviest totals along the North Shore where a winter storm warning remains in effect through early Wednesday. Lake-enhanced snow bands have dropped a foot or more of snow in parts of Cook County, with another half-foot possible in some locations.

Elsewhere in Minnesota, rounds of light snow may add up to 1 to 3 inches by Thursday.

Much colder air is expected across the state this weekend, in the wake of the snow.

Find forecast details on MPR Weather's Updraft blog.

This week's snowfall is welcome news for ski and snowboard areas across Minnesota that've been making snow since temperatures dropped.

Wild Mountain near Taylors Falls had briefly opened in October, before unseasonably warm temperatures melted the early season snow. It reopened Monday and plans to stay open through the weekend and beyond.

Lutsen Mountains on the North Shore reported a half-foot of new snow and counting as of noon Monday.

And the Spirit Mountain Nordic Center in Duluth reported Monday its snow guns were operating to supplement the "natural" snow falling on its ski trails.