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Evening commute, morning drive could be nasty from storm in eastern ND, western Minnesota

A North Dakota Highway Patrolman walks to his vehicle in blizzard conditions Dec. 30, 2010, at the Cass County Highway Department office in West Fargo. Forum file photo

FARGO – Arctic cold and snow will return to the Red River Valley Wednesday, Jan. 10, starting with fog and a fine, light mist before quickly changing to snow at about 2 p.m. in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the National Weather Service reports.

About 4 to 5 inches of snow is expected in much of the region starting Wednesday afternoon and continuing until around midnight, with sustained winds rising toward sunset into the 25 to 35 mph range with gusts up to 45 mph. Strong winds are expected to continue into Thursday morning, Jan. 11, before tapering off.

Wind chills will make the temperature feel like 25 to 35 below zero, adding to the danger of frostbite for exposed skin, meteorologist technician Bill Barrett said Wednesday.

Dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills are expected to linger in the area from Thursday night through next Monday, Jan. 15.

Barrett said he didn’t expect the early fog and mist to make roads hazardous, but when the snow, winds and dropping temperatures combine, conditions will quickly deteriorate to borderline blizzard-like, particularly in rural areas away from the Fargo-Moorhead metro area.

Barrett said visibility will be a half mile to a quarter mile or less during the snowfall and as the winds whip up fallen snow before gusts subside Thursday morning.

Drivers are advised to have a winter survival kit in their car, including such items as flashlights, extra food and water, and blankets, sleeping bags and extra winter clothing, if they plan to venture out of urbanized areas, he said.

According to the latest forecast from the NWS in Grand Forks:

Temperatures are expected to rise to about 31 degrees around noon Wednesday, then drop to about 19 for the rest of the day as the storm blows in. The overnight low is expected to hit 4 below zero.

Thursday’s high is expected to be about minus-1, then dip to a bone-chilling minus-19 overnight into Friday morning.

The arctic cold will continue, with highs of minus 3 and minus 7 for Friday, Jan. 12, and Saturday, Jan. 13, respectively, while lows will dip as low as 22 below zero overnight Friday into Saturday morning.

Friday will have a 30 percent chance of snow in the afternoon.

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