Snowstorm racks Minn.

In Minneapolis, 17.1 inches of snow fell, the fifth-highest total in city history.

by James Nord

A deluge of more than 17 inches of snow blanketed Minneapolis during a two-day blizzard that also enveloped the Midwest.
Minneapolis residents woke up to a âÄúblizzard or near blizzardâÄù Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, but not enough snow fell to top the historic Halloween blizzard of 1991, which dumped more than two feet of snow on the metro.
University of Minnesota administrators closed campus at 1 p.m. Saturday, postponing Gophers menâÄôs and womenâÄôs hockey games. The fall graduation ceremony went on as scheduled Sunday.
Plows began clearing Minneapolis roads Friday night, and by 7 a.m. Saturday, a team of 54 bulldozed through the streets. The city declared a snow emergency that will last from 9 p.m. Saturday to 8 p.m. Monday. On Monday, parking is allowed on the even-numbered side of non-snow emergency routes.
The city towed at least 321 cars during the first two days of the emergency.
Snow cemented cars to the roadside, and those who disregarded the Minnesota Department of Transportation advisory not to travel had to excavate their cars with a shovel first.
Two-wheel drive sedans littered 15th Avenue Southeast, stuck in snow banks that reached the front bumper.
One motorist cracked the bumper of his Cadillac Escalade in conquering a waist-high wall of snow. The less fortunate idled in the middle of intersections, wheels spinning as they tried to escape.
Good Samaritans worked against the deluge, shoveling out cars and pushing others out of the quagmire.
By 12:30 a.m. Sunday, 150 crashes had been reported in the metro area, resulting in 15 injuries, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. The agency also received 861 calls concerning vehicles that left the road or spun out statewide.
Weather conditions caused a headache for state and local agencies. Some MnDOT plows were forced to abandon their routes because of low visibility in southeastern Minnesota. After roughly 70 buses got stuck in the snow, Metro Transit suspended service for Saturday.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport shut down temporarily Saturday. Even the Salvation Army pulled back its bell-ringing troops.
Though the snowstorm slowed, the danger didnâÄôt completely pass on Sunday. Officials expected a drastic drop in temperature overnight would leave roads icy and dangerous.
âÄúIt certainly will not be business as usual on the roads tomorrow,âÄù Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said Saturday.