WILLMAR – High winds overnight Wednesday and Thursday morning could make for treacherous travel conditions in west and central Minnesota.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for most of the local region including Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties. The warning is in effect from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 9 a.m. Thursday.
According to the weather service, winds could gust between 35 to 45 miles per hour, causing widespread blowing snow. This could cause whiteout conditions, making travel very dangerous.
Current road conditions can be found at www.511mn.org.
High winds will also result in very low wind chill values, between 25 to 30 below zero from Thursday into Friday morning. Frostbite can happen on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes, the weather service said.
Winds speeds are expected to be lower east of the blizzard warning, where there is a smaller snowpack. Meeker County and other counties to the east are in a winter weather advisory from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 3 p.m. Thursday.
Once the blizzard warning expires, all of the warning area will be in the winter weather advisory until 3 p.m. Thursday.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, school districts were already posting two-hour late starts for Thursday and community and church events were being cancelled for both Wednesday evening and Thursday.