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Hello winter

Even before Halloween pumpkins were reduced to shriveled shells, winter kicked fall to the curb and arrived in force. More than a month before winter officially arrives, a winter storm bore down on much of the state breaking Brainerd's record for...

Tonya Woodland walks east on Washington Monday morning as the winter storm moves in. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
Tonya Woodland walks east on Washington Monday morning as the winter storm moves in. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

Even before Halloween pumpkins were reduced to shriveled shells, winter kicked fall to the curb and arrived in force.

More than a month before winter officially arrives, a winter storm bore down on much of the state breaking Brainerd's record for snowfall on Nov. 10. The previous record was 2 inches in 1989. It's not the snowiest November, back in the year of the Halloween blizzard of 1991 there was 11 inches of snow on the ground by this date and more would fall before November was over.

Monday's snowfall didn't hit that mark here but by nightfall, 5 inches had fallen in Brainerd and it was still snowing. The average November snowfall - for the month - is 3.5 inches.

A light snow started falling before 5 a.m. Snowfall, at times heavy in the afternoon, continued throughout the day. After a short break when pale blue sky was visible before 5 p.m. another round of snow began about an hour later. Roads were snow-covered and slippery. Temperatures stayed in the 20s. The normal temperature this time of year is about 34 degrees.

"It's slowing us down quite a bit, the roads are getting slippery. We've got a couple inches and it's still snowing pretty hard," said Andrew Simon, a dispatcher for the public transit system in Brainerd.

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Between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday, the Minnesota State Patrol handled 475 crashes statewide, 45 of those with injuries and one fatality, along with 702 vehicles spinning out off the roadways.

Additional snowfall is forecast through Wednesday but the winter storm warning was expected to expire by 6 a.m. today.

In St. Cloud where more than a foot of snow fell, St. Cloud Hospital canceled its Veterans Day ceremonies because of the winter storm. In Brainerd, the Rosenmeier Forum at Central Lakes College was canceled.

AccuWeather reported just eight states dodged the ice air from this polar vortex - a weather term many may have hoped to have died out with the last winter.

AccuWeather stated only the Southwest, Hawaii, Alaska and South Florida will escape the grip of the upcoming arctic blast that the polar vortex can be blamed for.

"The polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air, typically the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere, which sits over the polar region," stated AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"Once the frigid air arrives, it will not be quick to depart," AccuWeather reported. "Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing for nearly two weeks in the Upper Midwest. ... Latest indications also point toward another winter storm crossing the nation next Thursday to the following Monday."

Forecast

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Today, the National Weather Service reports there is a slight chance of snow before 5 p.m. and possible flurries after with a high near 25 degrees. But expect it to feel colder as a north wind blows at 10 to 15 degrees and gusts up to 20 mph. And the snow that is here should stay around. The low for Veterans Day is expected to drop to 7 degrees. There is a slight chance for snow showers Wednesday but a better chance on Thursday. Highs this week are expected to hover around 20 with single-digit lows. Look for the sun to return Friday followed by mostly cloudy skies and highs in the teens for the weekend.

Snow totals from the region as of Monday night from the National Weather Service:

• 16.5 inches, St. Augusta.

• 14 inches, Glidden, Wis.

• 12.1 inches, St. Cloud.

• 12 inches, North Branch.

• 11.3 inches, Elk River.

• 9.4 inches, Long Prairie.

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• 9 inches, Alexandria.

• 6 inches, West Duluth.

• 5.5 inches, Little Falls.

• 5 inches, Brainerd.

• 3.8 inches, Wadena.

• 3 inches Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

• 2.5 inches, Nisswa/Emily.

• 1.8 inches, Fifty Lakes.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz .

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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