Update 7 a.m. - Dangerous cold and blowing snow expected in west central Minnesota today and into Friday
A winter weather advisory for blowing snow along with dangerous cold wind chills is in effect for portions of west central and south central Minnesota until 9 a.m. Friday.
The National Weather Service in Chanhassen said the advisory area runs west of a line from Motley to Litchfield to St. James. This area includes the majority of west central Minnesota, northeastern South Dakota and eastern North Dakota.
The winter weather advisory has been moved up in time as wind gusts in the advisory area are already between 25 and 35 mph. Blowing snow is likely occurring in these areas and will continue into the afternoon.
A wind chill advisory is in effect for the remain of central and south central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities area.
A strong Arctic cold front continue to usher much colder air in the area. Temperatures will quickly lower to 15 below to 22 below zero by Midnight tonight or shortly thereafter. Temperatures will begin to level off or slightly right before daybreak Friday over western and south central Minnesota.
Wind speeds of 20 to 35 mph will result in blowing and drifting snow and reduce visibilities across west central and south central Minnesota from late morning into tonight.
Wind chill temperatures will become dangerous across all of west central and central Minnesota this afternoon and evening. Wind chill readings will vary from 25 below to 40 below zero. Persons exposed for any length of time under these low wind chills will result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken. If you must venture outdoors, make sure you wear a hat, gloves and several layers of clothing.
The NWS forecast for Willmar is as follows:
Today: Areas of blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers before noon, then a chance for flurries. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny and cold, with a temperature falling to around -11 by 5 p.m. Wind chill values between 20 below and 30 below. North northwest wind between 9 and 17 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
Tonight: A 20 percent chance of snow after midnight. Increasing clouds, with a low around -18. Wind chill values between -27 and -37. Calm wind becoming southeast between 7 and 10 mph.
Friday: Snow likely, mainly after noon. Cloudy and cold, with a high near 2. Wind chill values between -31 and -41. East southeast wind between 5 and 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -5. Wind chill values between -9 and -19. Calm wind becoming north northwest between 4 and 7 mph.
Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 11. North northwest wind around 8 mph.
Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around -8.