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Heat Advisory

Brutal cold to bring dangerous conditions to northern Plains into midweek

By Courtney Spamer, AccuWeather meteorologist
December 26, 2017, 12:25:11 PM EST

Dangerous and subzero cold will have a firm grip on the northern Plains for the last week of 2017.

A dip in the jet stream has opened the gates for arctic air to invade into much of the Plains and into the Great Lakes.

Temperatures dropped behind the Christmas Day snowstorm in the Northeast, allowing for some of the coldest air of the year to reach the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. However, these areas will escape the worst of the cold.

ColdPattern 12.24

“The core of the cold will be centered over the northern Plains, where temperatures up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below late-December normals will be common,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff.

Minneapolis experienced its first single-digit high on Christmas Day since 1985. Similar highs are expected through Wednesday.

Temperatures in Fargo, North Dakota, and Duluth, Minnesota, will struggle or even fail to climb above zero F during this time.

At the same time, AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures will be plummeting, ending up as much as 20 degrees lower than the actual temperature.


Despite a sunny forecast, the cold, combined with a chilly light breeze will make it feel like temperatures are below zero Fahrenheit for an even larger area then where actual temperatures will be below zero.

Once the sun sets, it will be feeling even colder; AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures overnight could even be dipping down near minus 20 Fahrenheit as far south as Minneapolis.

Such conditions, day or night, can be dangerous for more than just a few minutes outdoors.

In a short amount of time, people outside can be at risk for cold-related illnesses, such as frostbite and hypothermia. To avoid such dangers, those heading outdoors should bundle up appropriately, covering as much skin as possible.

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"Pets should not be left outside for an extended period of time. Outdoor animals should be given proper shelter to protect them from the brutal cold," Duff added.

Car batteries that are several years old may have trouble cranking the engine in the frigid air. Motorists traveling to and from Christmas gatherings should make sure they have plenty of fuel, warm blankets and enough antifreeze in their vehicle for the trip.

While conditions look to improve some for the middle of the week in the northern Plains, any reprieve from the harsh conditions looks to be short-lived.

Continued intense cold is likely through the last few days of 2017 and into the start of the New Year.

Subzero cold will return to many of the same places in its grip early this week and hold even through the daylight hours to end the year.

Cold filtering into the Great Lakes and Northeast later this week, could also help to set up one last winter storm in the East ahead of New Year’s Day.

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