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Blizzard 'highly likely'; NWS warns of life-threatening travel conditions in Minnesota, Wisconsin

Blizzard conditions are "highly likely," even in the Twin Cities later this week.

The National Weather Service delivered an ominous message Monday morning, warning of "life-threatening" weather conditions throughout the week leading up to Christmas. 

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"The bottom line is travel will be very dangerous and could be LIFE-THREATENING later this week so be prepared to alter travel plans now!" said the NWS, going on to warn about "highly likely" blizzard conditions, even in the Twin Cities metro area. 

"Several inches of fluffy snow comes Wednesday and Wednesday evening. Travel impacts are likely, but winds will remain light so no blowing snow. Temperatures will be very cold in the single digits above and below zero.

Winds will begin increasing late Wed night and Thu as light snow continues. By Thu, wind gusts of 40-50 mph appear likely. Blizzard conditions are highly likely, even in areas that typically aren't favored for whiteout conditions, including the metro and western Wisconsin.

Wind chills will dive to dangerous levels (30 to 45 below zero) as the wind increases Thursday, which will threaten your life if you get stranded while traveling.

The blizzard conditions (light snow, strong winds, blowing snow) could last into Friday night, impacting travel potentially into Saturday.

With snow still stuck on trees, the strong winds may cause power outages while temperatures are below zero. 

That is a summary of what we know now. A lot of the finer details will be clearer as the event approaches.

A winter storm watch is in effect from Wednesday through Friday for central and southern Minnesota. A wind chill watch is also in effect.

“For the Winter Storm Watch, blizzard conditions possible. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 10 inches possible. Winds could gust as high as 55 mph. For the Wind Chill Watch, dangerously cold wind chills possible. Wind chills as low as 45 below zero,” the NWS says. 

The American model is projecting wind chill readings -15F to -20F Tuesday morning in the Twin Cities, with values dipping to -20F to -35F in western Minnesota. And the wind chill stays below zero in all of Minnesota all day Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and maybe even all of Sunday, Christmas Day. 

Look at these icy wind chills in this GIF representing Monday night through Sunday. 


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