Record highs, thunderstorms, thick fog and even snowstorms brought a strange brew of December weather to Minnesota on Wednesday.
The Twin Cities broke the record high for the date. By 9 a.m., the temperature had risen to 62 degrees. The old record of 54 degrees was set in 1998.
Highs Wednesday were expected to reach the low and mid 60s across southeastern Minnesota, threatening several local records, but a cold front was expected to bring cooler temperatures to much of the region in the afternoon.
Temperatures in the 60s prompted at least two Twin Cities golf courses to open Wednesday. Around 9 a.m., 40 to 50 golfers were on the course at River Oaks Municipal Golf Course in Cottage Grove. Parkview Golf Club in Eagan was also open.
Dense fog prompted a round of school delays in central and southwestern Minnesota, where many schools started classes an hour or two late. Some schools decided to close, including Litchfield and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.
While the warm weather has melted off most of the snow dumped in the Twin Cities by a major winter storm a week ago, there was still more than a foot of snow on the ground in many parts of central and southwestern Minnesota. The melting snow in those areas contributed to the fog, which moved in around 7 p.m. Tuesday and thickened throughout the night.
On Tuesday, the fog and two separate accidents involving seven vehicles -- including a State Patrol squad car -- caused a section of Highway 7 near the McLeod and Carver county line to be shut down for several hours. The driver of a car that collided with a semi in one of those accidents was listed in serious condition Wednesday at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. The truck driver was not injured in that crash, but suffered minor injuries as he sat in the squad car. A pile-up of five more cars happened as he was filling out a report for the trooper.
Thunderstorms popped up in south-central Minnesota on Wednesday morning, brining rain to Faribault County and other locations.
And northwestern Minnesota was under a winter storm warning effective through Wednesday evening. The National Weather Service said up to 10 inches of snow was possible between the North Dakota border and Warroad by Wednesday night. Across the border in North Dakota, the weather service said Lansford, in Bottineau County, had 5 inches of snow by 5 a.m.
Eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota battled freezing rain Wednesday morning. Grand Forks, N.D., city buses were pulled because of slick roads, and many cars were in ditches. In Fischer, Minn., a school bus, along with a semi and other vehicles slid off a Polk County Road 10 miles east of East Grand Forks, Minn. Two children were on the bus, but no one was injured, authorities said.
Thunder, lightning and hail were reported west of Fargo, N.D., around 8 a.m. North Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Ron Kolle said he noticed traces of hail along Interstate 94 west of Fargo.
With on-cycle help from KBEW Radio, Blue Earth' KDUZ/KARP Radio, Hutchinson; KWLM/KQIC Radio, Willmar; KLFD Radio, Litchfield; and KMHL Radio, Marshall.
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