Wind chill warning through Thursday afternoon

Road closures often occur after strong winds have caused blowing and drifting snow, near-zero visibility and life-threatening driving conditions. Blizzard conditions Wednesday impacted drivers on roads including Highway 75, Minnesota.

A wind chill warning for communities including Wahpeton and Breckenridge, Minnesota, is forecast to remain in effect until 12 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13.

Dangerously cold wind chills, as low as 45 below zero, are expected. The warning is in effect for Clay, Wilkin, Otter Tail and Grant counties, Minnesota, and Cass and Richland counties, North Dakota.

“The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” stated the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

People are advised to avoid outside activities if possible when a wind chill warning is in effect. Appropriate clothing, including a hat and gloves, is recommended.

The wind chill update came shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, hours before a blizzard warning was set to expire.

A total snow accumulation of 1-2 inches was forecast for Richland County. There was high confidence in light snow totals, high winds and very cold wind chills, NWS stated.

Sunshine is forecast for Thursday in Wahpeton. Despite this, the high is expected to reach -2 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill value as low as -42 degrees. Less gusty winds are forecast for the daytime, although gusts as high as 21 miles per hour could occur Thursday evening. A low of approximately -14 degrees is forecast.

“Wind chill advisories will probably be needed,” NWS stated Wednesday morning. “Wind chills of 25-35 below zero are expected for Thursday night and Friday morning.”

Higher temperatures are forecast for Friday, Feb. 14-Tuesday, Feb. 18. The forecast as of Wednesday afternoon calls for highs ranging from 23 degrees Friday to 19 degrees Tuesday, with lows between 14 degrees Friday to 5 degrees Monday, Feb. 17.

During Wednesday’s blizzard, the North Dakota Department of Transportation closed I-29 from Canada to the South Dakota border. Highway 13 from I-29 to Wahpeton was also closed. The restrictions, as well as no travel advisories in easter North Dakota communities including Wahpeton, were lifted by the afternoon.

Road closures often occur after strong winds have caused blowing and drifting snow, near-zero visibility and life-threatening driving conditions.

“Motorists who drive past a road closure device may be fined up to $250,” NDDOT stated.

Anyone traveling when roads are opened is advised to check updated reports and have a winter survival kit in their vehicle. A survival kit should include items like a charged cell phone, shovel and blanket.

North Dakota’s latest road conditions can be found at dot.nd.gov/travel. Minnesota’s latest road conditions can be found at 511mn.org. In either state, information can also be received by calling 511. NWS also provides updates through Facebook and Twitter.

Daily News will continue to follow and update this story in print and online.

Load comments