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Forecast: Treacherous traveling through tonight in most of state

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CHANHASSEN -- The National Weather Service is advising that weather conditions through tonight will make travel in much of the state dangerous.

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Citizens are advised to only travel in an emergency. If travel is required, the weather service urges travelers to keep food, water and winter survival items in the vehicle.

The blizzard warning issued Friday afternoon for the southwestern portion of the state until 9 p.m. tonight. The warned area includes Stevens, Swift, Chippewa and Renville counties.

Similarly, a winter storm warning is in effect until midnight. The area counties in the warning are Pope, Stearns, Kandiyohi and Meeker counties.

The major winter storm is expected to drop up to 14 inches of snow, with sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts to 45 mph, resulting in widespread blowing and drifting snow. Most of west central Minnesota can expect 6 to 10 inches of snow, with more than a foot of snow expected in the Twin Cities area and western Wisconsin.

The snow is expected to taper off this afternoon and evening, but the wind and plummeting temperatures will result in dangerous and possibly life-threatening wind chills of 20 to 35 below.

The NWS forecast for Willmar shows a temperature of 1 degree by 5 p.m. today with wind gusts of 24 to 30 mph creating wind chills of 12 to 22 degrees below zero.

An overnight low of 14 below is expected, with blustery north winds of 15 to 24 mph and wind chills of 26 to 26 degrees below zero. The high temperature Sunday is 1 below, with winds dying down to 11 to 15 mph.

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