Arctic Blast Sends Temperatures Plummeting in Midwest, Blizzard Warnings Issued

February 13, 2020 Updated: February 13, 2020
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An Arctic cold front is set to slide southward into the Northern Plains and Midwest this week, bringing freezing cold temperatures along with it.

So far this winter, most people across the northern Plains, Midwest, and Great Lakes have enjoyed relatively mild conditions for this time of year.

However, temperatures will reportedly reach about 10-20 degrees below average from the northern and central Plains on Feb. 13, and into the Ohio Valley and Interior New England/Lower Great Lakes by Feb. 14, just in time for Valentine’s.

Weather.com reports lows 20 to 35 degrees colder than average are expected from the Dakotas into Minnesota, Iowa, eastern Nebraska, and northwestern Missouri.

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota for early Thursday morning and said to expect light snow and winds of up to 55 mph. 

Minnesota State Patrol Public Information Officer Sgt. Jesse Grabow had previously advised people not to travel in the northwest part of the state and some roads had been closed due to a number of crashes. No travel advisories and road closures were being lifted in some areas of the state by late Wednesday.

However, the cold air is only set to linger for about 40 hours across Minnesota, and milder conditions are expected by the weekend across the Plains and Midwest.

By Feb. 14, it will be 20 to 30 degrees warmer on compared to Thursday in much of the northern and central Plains and parts of the Mississippi Valley, according to Weather.com.

In addition to blizzard conditions, the NWS said a “long stretch” of winter weather advisories stretch from Oklahoma to Maine, which is expecting 2-5 inches of snow along with some freezing drizzle.

Blizzard conditions created travel issues along the central and southern Red River Valley in North Dakota on Feb. 12, where the state’s Department of Transportation said Interstate 29 was closed from the South Dakota border to the Canadian border.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol urged motorists to delay traveling to later in the day after multiple crashes were reported on state highways.

“Vehicles have lost sight of the road and driven into the ditch. The storm will blow over later today. Don’t travel until then,” they wrote on Twitter.

A number of travel bands have now been lifted across the state, however drivers are being warned that visibility can be less than 100 feet to one mile.

Several areas, including Minneapolis, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Albany, New York, and Burlington, Vermont, could well experience their coldest temperatures of the season so far and windy conditions are also possible, making it feel even colder.

Meanwhile, more heavy rainfall and the potential of flash flooding continues across several states from the southeast United States to the Ohio Valley.