The gales of November carried right over into December this weekend as the city of Duluth told residents to stay home amid a blizzard that stranded motorists, knocked out power to thousands and caused lakeshore flooding.
Wind gusts of 50 or more miles per hour whipped up huge waves in Lake Superior, causing some flooding at Canal Park, and knocked down branches and power lines in some areas Saturday.
The city closed a portion of Harbor Drive behind Amsoil Arena and said Saturday night it was on high alert for further flooding.
Just before 11 p.m. Saturday, the storm had dumped 12.5 inches of snow on the city, the National Weather Service in Duluth tweeted, with more expected until around midday Sunday.
“The public is asked to shelter in place throughout the storm, if possible,” the city said in a news release.
The city said snowplows would focus on keeping main arterials open to traffic as a first priority, while residential streets and alleys will be taken care of later. White out conditions
“Please be patient with plow drivers as this is expected to be a historic storm, plowing could take longer from the amount of snow projected to fall,” the city said.
The Bentleyville holiday light display, Miller Hill Mall and the Glensheen mansion in Duluth all closed Saturday because of the weather. Duluth Transit Authority buses stopped running.
Duluth was being socked in two directions, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Caleb Grunzke: A storm front bore down on the city from the southwest, while counterclockwise winds pulled in lake-effect snows.
“The National Weather Service continues to predict the potential for a top-10 highest two-day snowfall total in recorded history for Duluth,” according to the city’s news release.
Statewide, the Minnesota State Patrol reported that there were 187 crashes, 21 of them with injuries, and 314 spinouts or vehicles sliding off roads between 10 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Three semitrailer trucks jackknifed during that time period, the patrol said.
By late Saturday, most roads across northern and central Minnesota were covered with ice and snow, according to the state Department of Transportation oft-updated road-conditions map. Driving conditions were far better in southern Minnesota, MnDOT said.
Conditions were better in the Twin Cities, where a winter weather advisory was in effect till noon Sunday, but by most standards the weather remained nasty. Gophers and Badgers fans at Saturday afternoon’s big game endured rain, sleet, snow, cold and high winds.
The Weather Service forecast called for 4 to 7 inches of snow in the Twin Cities by 6 p.m. Sunday, with higher amounts falling in the north metro.
Snowfall was expected to end Sunday afternoon in the Twin Cities and Duluth. By Monday, the weather should be mostly sunny but colder, with highs in the lower 20s in both cities, the Weather Service said.
Sunshine will linger Tuesday and Wednesday in the metro area, with highs in the 30s. The next chance of snow comes next Saturday, the Weather Service said.