It was fitting that Monday, Nov. 10, marked the 39th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, an iron ore ship lost at sea in the waters of Lake Superior due to a massive November low pressure system.
The 2014 version wasn’t as catastrophic, but it was still one for the record books.
With 12 inches of new snow being the record for a November snowfall (single day) in much of the region, some areas flirted with history, as a system rushed across Minnesota early Monday morning and lingered into the late hours Monday night and early Tuesday morning.
According to the National Weather Service, trained spotters in Monticello observed more than 9 inches of snow in Monticello. Otsego spotters recorded 10 inches, while Elk River had just under a full foot. St. Augusta, about 35 miles up the road on Interstate 94, recorded a whopping 16.5. Closer to home, St. Michael observers showed 8 to 9 inches.
Those totals don’t include snow that fell overnight Monday/Tuesday.
The heavy, wet snow stuck to roads and made travel treacherous. Spinouts were especially common Monday afternoon during the “homeward” commute, with the stretch of Interstate 94 between Maple Grove and St. Michael being one of the worst, according to MnDOT supervisors.
The Minnesota State Patrol PIO recorded 475 accidents in the Twin Cities area, with 45 injuries. More than 700 cars were reported off the road inside the metro area.
According to the St. Cloud District, more than 270 cars were “off road” due to skids or spinouts. District 3 reported 45 crashes, three with injury, none of them considered “life threatening.”
Now, the cold arrives. Arctic air more accustomed to December or January is hitting the region, with lows predicted to be in the single digits several times this week, and high temperatures just around 20 degrees.
The conditions are making it tough for the Minnesota High School League football playoff system to determine settings for Friday’s games. Kickoff at game time Saturday, for example, could see wind chill temps in the low single digits or even below zero.
Last year, those games would have been in the Metrodome, of course.