Thanksgiving travel: Light snow in Twin Ports, more up North ShoreUPDATE: Light snow is expected to fall tonight and into Thanksgiving in the Twin Ports with more up North Shore.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory in time for Northlanders heading out for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Drivers got a taste of it late Wednesday evening in Duluth as snow flurries, coupled with the detours off Interstate 35, ground traffic to a halt during the height of rush hour. Avenues became slick, forcing drivers to spin up the hills, or abandon their planned routes.
“(We) saw a car slide downhill in downtown and hit a state trooper,” Kristi DuCharme of Duluth said in message on the News Tribune’s Facebook page, saying she then abandoned her travel. “We went back home for now.”
Duluth’s Amy Hedman Crowe reported similar incidents.
“The roads downtown are full of cars and the hills are very difficult to get up,” she said. “The roads are rather slick, and we saw a few accidents on our way to Lester Park area.”
The advisory for all of the Northland, including Northwestern Wisconsin, was expected to last until 10 p.m. Wednesday night. More than 25 accidents were reported to the Duluth Police Department between 3 and 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“It’s the first snow of the year,” said Lt. Tim Jazdzewski. “I guess people don’t know how to drive.”
Jazdzewski said the worst spots for accidents are Hawthorne and Superior streets and 19th Avenue East and Fourth Street.
Snow fell across northern Minnesota and into Northwestern Wisconsin, with 3-5 inches expected by Thanksgiving morning in the Twin Ports, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
As much as 4-6 inches are forecast for parts of Lake County and 5-7 inches for Cook County, with 3-7 inches possible in the Gunflint Trail area. A winter weather advisory was expected to remain in effect for that area until 10 a.m. today. Snow was expected to taper off before midday.
Temperatures across the Northland are expected to be seasonable, with highs in the 20s and lows in the teens.
Travel conditions Sunday for the return trip look to be dry and mild across the region, and conditions to the south, toward the Twin Cities and Chicago, should be dry and mild all weekend.
AAA reports that an estimated 43.4 million people will travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday, down 1.5 percent from 2012.
Minnesota gas prices averaged $3.10 per gallon Wednesday, according to minnesotagasprices.com, down from $3.32 at this time last year. Gas was as cheap as $2.99 in Duluth on Wednesday afternoon.
News Tribune reporter Alysee Shelton contributed to this report.