WILLMAR -- Ready or not ...
The National Weather Service says Willmar and rest of west central Minnesota will feel its first real Arctic blast of winter moving in late this afternoon and a large swath of the rest of state by tonight.
Strong northwest winds of 25 to 30 mph with higher gusts will be associated with the cold front. Temperatures will drop below zero over all of central Minnesota by midnight resulting in dangerous wind chill values of 30 to 35 below zero.
An extreme cold warning has been issued by the National Weather Service in Chanhassen from midnight tonight to noon Thursday for areas northwest of a line from near Redwood Falls to Elk River to Cambridge. Dangerous wind chills will persist through Thursday morning as overnight low temperatures dip to the 10 to 15 below range.
The Weather Service says frostbite and hypothermia are likely if exposed to these temperatures: Make sure a hat and heavy gloves or mittens are available.