SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Strong winds and bitter cold pummeled the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin on Thursday as the region dug out from a winter storm that closed interstate highways and grounded flights.
The winter storm moved eastward, bringing snow into northern Wisconsin, while the Dakotas and Minnesota were left with clear skies, but icy wind. The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories lasting until the afternoon, alerting some parts of North Dakota and Minnesota that wind chills could be 40 F below zero (-40C).
“The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” the National Weather Service warned.
The storm brought a dramatic change to a region that had experienced weeks of mild weather. In Milwaukee, temperatures climbed as high as 57 F (14C) on Wednesday, but were expected to drop into the teens, with wind chills below zero.
“It’s definitely going to be a shock to the system,” Paul Collar, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Highways were reopened in Minnesota after closing late Wednesday when winds blasted snow and hundreds of accidents were reported. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the National Guard late Wednesday to assist with accidents in two counties. On Thursday afternoon he authorized troops to provide assistance across the entire state.