Old Man Winter returned to Minnesota with a vengeance yesterday. The heaviest snowstorm to hit Minnesota since 2011 brought up to sixteen inches of snow and hampered travel for nearly the entire state.

Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Cloud and several suburban communities declared snow emergencies with parking restrictions in effect until the streets have been plowed. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul reported long lines at city impound lots after hundreds of people woke up to discover that their cars had been towed. Dozens of schools were canceled.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported 654 car accidents statewide and 1,299 spin-outs or calls for help from Saturday night to Monday morning. There was one death reported near Red Wing on Highway 61 involving a semi.

Stay safe on the road by following these winter driving tips:

Check road conditions by visiting https://www.511mn.org/. If your travel is not necessary, consider rescheduling and staying put.
Be patient and allow extra travel time.
Slow down to a speed that’s safe for current conditions.
Stay back at least five car lengths behind snow plows. Last year, Minnesota Department of Transportation reported 21 accidents involving snow plows.

Make sure that you are equipped with an emergency road kit in case you have trouble on the road.
The December snow storm is the third largest December snowfall on record.