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Early snow in Minnesota, Wisconsin causes hundreds of accidents, 2 deaths

Micaela Pommerening cleaned the roof of her garage on Saturday in St. Louis Park, Minn. Almost a foot of snow fell in the region. Micaela Pommerening cleaned the roof of her garage on Saturday in St. Louis Park, Minn. Almost a foot of snow fell in the region. (Bruce Bisping/ Star Tribune via Associated Press)
Associated Press / November 15, 2010

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Residents were digging out yesterday after a powerful storm brought almost a foot of snow to parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, but forecasters said moderating temperatures were expected this week.

Authorities in both states responded over the weekend to scores of car crashes and calls about vehicles that slid off roads.

A collision in northern Wisconsin killed two drivers on Saturday. The wet heavy snow also downed trees and caused sporadic power outages.

The early season storm dumped 11 inches of snow in parts of Eden Prairie and 10 inches in the Forest Lake and Mankato areas, said Todd Krause, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Minneapolis. The major snowfall ended Saturday.

The Minnesota State Patrol said it responded to more than 400 highway crashes Saturday, including several chain-reaction accidents. Minnesota police said at least 45 people were injured, but there were no reports of fatalities or major injuries.

Icy conditions and poor visibility were blamed for most of the accidents.

Winds as high as 25 miles per hour accompanied the snow. As many as 60,000 electric customers lost power Saturday, but utility companies said yesterday that they were making progress at getting service restored.

In Wisconsin, Ashland and Bayfield counties were expected to get 4 to 6 inches of snow yesterday, while parts of western and north-central Wisconsin were expected to get about an inch.

Temperatures fell below zero Saturday night and were expected to again last night, coating road surfaces with ice.

The snow in Minnesota and Wisconsin wasn’t expected to stick around for long. Recent warm weather meant the ground is still relatively warm, meteorologists said, and temperatures are expected to be in the mid- to high-30s for the next few days.

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