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Expect icy roads where light snow falls Thursday afternoon

The frigid temps, tire friction and snow can create black ice.

Light snow is forecast to fall over southern Minnesota and Wisconsin Thursday afternoon, and where it does snow there will undoubtedly be hazardous driving conditions due to the extremely cold temperatures. 

"Though snow totals are expected to be a half inch or less, temperatures remaining below zero will limit the effectiveness of road salt and other chemicals, resulting icy conditions developing on any roads that see snow," says the National Weather Service. 

Better chances for a dusting of snow are just south of the metro, but if snow does fall in the Twin Cities it could make for a rough afternoon commute. 

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Similar light snowfall events on Monday and Tuesday this week resulted in hundreds of crashes and spinouts due to salt and other chemicals not working in the frigid conditions. 

Here's a look at the radar simulation from the NAM 3KM computer model, which shows some light snow possibly brushing the Twin Cities metro area this afternoon. 


According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the combination of light snow, tire friction and extreme cold can create black ice. It can get especially icy on bridges, overpasses and ramps, along with intersections due to exhaust pipes dripping and freezing on the roadway. 

Temperatures and wind chills will remain dangerously cold through the weekend and into early next week. According to the Twin Cities office of the NWS, it'll be the first Valentine's Day in the Twin Cities since 1923 where the high temp fails to break zero. 

"Most significant hazard this period looks to be wind chill temperatures Saturday night into Sunday, which look to fall to between 35 and 50 degrees below zero, with a wind chill warning area-wide looking like a certainty at this point, even 3.5 days out," the NWS said. 

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