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Bitter cold surges into lakes area

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

After a more-than-mild winter, January is promising to have a cold side after all.

And on Thursday it may do something it hasn’t done all season — fail to reach a daytime high above zero.

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The National Weather Service issued an extreme cold warning Wednesday with overnight temperatures expected to plummet to 17 below zero and wind chills to reach 30 below to 40 below. The arctic air, bottled to the north through much of the winter, is expected to surge into the lakes region. Wind gusts could reach 30 mph.

The extreme cold warning continues through noon Thursday as winds continue to be a factor and the wind chill remains in the 30-40 below range across central Minnesota, from Brainerd and Aitkin north to International Falls. Thursdays high? The weather service is predicting a high of 1 below.

The weather service noted that under these conditions “frostbite of exposed skin of a healthy adult can occur in 15 minutes or less,” with the young and the elderly even more susceptible to the cold’s effects. Prolonged and untreated, exposure may lead to hypothermia and death. Shelter should also be provided for outdoor animals.

In addition, the weather service reported these cold conditions can lead to other emergencies such as house fires as wood burning stoves or alternative heat devices are used to combat the chill and vigilance is urged.

Friday brings a 30 percent chance of snow before noon and a predicted high of 10 degrees. But the frigid overnight lows will moderate to 3 below.

For the first time in weeks, a chance of snow remains in the forecast for a string of days through the weekend and into next week. The deep freeze isn’t expected to last as Sunday’s high rebounds to almost 30. Highs in the upper 20s are expected into the coming week.

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