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Heavy snow temporarily closes I-35 north of Twin Cities

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota State Patrol closed part of Interstate 35 near Forest Lake for about two hours Thursday morning, as up to 30 cars spun out or were involved in crashes during a heavy snow that made the rush hour more of a slow hour for T...

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota State Patrol closed part of Interstate 35 near Forest Lake for about two hours Thursday morning, as up to 30 cars spun out or were involved in crashes during a heavy snow that made the rush hour more of a slow hour for Twin Cities area drivers.

The State Patrol closed southbound I-35 from Wyoming to U.S. Highway 8 about 8:45 a.m. to clear out the multitude of spinouts and crashes in that area. It was reopened about 10:30 a.m.

The Patrol reported that from 5-10:30 a.m. its troopers were called to 67 crashes, seven with injuries, and another 106 spinouts or vehicles going off the road in the Twin Cities area.

It all stemmed from a quick burst of snow that began in central Minnesota about 3 a.m., and in the Twin Cities metro area about 5 a.m. At one time, snow fell at a rate of 2 inches an hour.

By midday the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had reported 6.3 inches of snow.

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The storm stayed south of the Twin Ports, but parts of Northwestern Wisconsin saw a few inches of snow.

In the wake of the snow, temperatures were forecast plummet once again. Lows this morning in the Northland were forecast to be in the teens and 20s below zero, with highs only in the single digits today.

Elsewhere in the Twin Cities area Thursday morning, a driver spun out on southbound U.S. Highway 169 near Maple Grove and slammed into a guardrail at about 5:15 a.m. The motorist was pulled from the car as it caught fire.

The crash shut down Interstate 94 for about 40 minutes and backed up traffic to Minnesota Highway 610 in Brooklyn Park. The State Patrol said the driver was hospitalized in serious condition.

Travel speeds of 20 mph and slower were common, and authorities were reporting incidents of drivers stepping out of their stopped vehicles to clear snow from windshields.

The intense snowfall also forced a vehicle to pull over along Minnesota Highway 100 in Edina as a woman inside was going into labor, city spokeswoman Kaylin Martin said. An emergency vehicle arrived and took the woman to a nearby hospital, Martin said.

Forum News Service and the Minneapolis Star Tribune contributed to this report.

MnDOT video of crashes and spinouts near Forest Lake on Thursday morning, via WCCO-TV:

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Related Topics: WEATHER
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