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Fargo, North Dakota – Strong winds and intense cold hit the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin on Thursday after a winter storm passed through that forced the closure of roads and airports.

The storm moved eastward, dumping snow on Wisconsin, as the Dakotas and Minnesota dawned with clear skies but an icy wind. The National Weather Service issued wind frost alerts into the afternoon, warning that in parts of North Dakota and Minnesota the wind chill could reach minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit).

“The dangerously icy wind chill could cause frostbite in exposed areas of the skin in just 10 minutes,” warned the SNM.

The storm caused a drastic change in a region that had enjoyed moderate temperatures for weeks. In Milwaukee, the thermometer rose to 14 degrees Celsius (57 F) on Wednesday, but was expected to be below zero Celsius, with wind chills even lower.

“It’s definitely going to be a shock to the system,” Paul Collar of the National Weather Service told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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