Reporter's eye freezes shut while working outside during blizzard

The wind chill was a brutal -50F when he was outside reporting on the storm.

It's wise to stay inside when the weather forecast says "the dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes."

That's the forecast in eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, where a wind chill warning is in effect until noon Thursday, in addition to a blizzard warning that was set to expire at 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

That extreme cold and wind was the work environment Wednesday for Kenneth Chase, a reporter for WDAY News in Grand Forks. The result? His eye froze shut. 

"I was outside for 15 minutes trying to take video of I-29. I thought I felt my eye freezing shut. But dismissed it as me being dramatic. I got in the car and found this," wrote Chase about the photo of his icy eye. "Stay out of the cold if you can." 

According to Chase, the National Weather Service said the air temperature was -18F when he took the photo around 11 a.m., but winds were sustained at 37 mph and gusting to 46 mph, creating a wind chill of -53F. 

Chase was born and raised in Hawaii and has been working for WDAY News the past four years. This, however, is the first time he's had an eye freeze shut. 

"Fun stuff!" Chase joked. 

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The dangerous winter weather is no laughing matter, however, as whiteout conditions and plummeting temperatures have created nearly impossible travel conditions in the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota, where blizzard and wind-chill warnings are also in place. 

The harsh "feels like" temps are expected to remain -30F to -50F in these areas until conditions warm into the teens, possibly even 20 degrees above zero, on Friday. 

The National Weather Service warns: "Travel should be restricted to emergencies only. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle."

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