Winter Weather South Dakota

In this Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, photo, blowing snow moves over the roadway near the bridge on the U.S. Highway 281 bypass as blizzard and near white out conditions made travel in and around Aberdeen, S.D., difficult at times. (John Davis/Aberdeen American News via AP)

First the snow. And now the cold.

Temperatures started to drop throughout the day Thursday and Jefferson County residents were expected to wake up to one of the coldest days of the winter on Friday.

But fear not, for the mild temperatures will return in time for the weekend.

Taylor Patterson, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Sullivan, said the cold that will hit the area overnight is not a Polar Vortex, but Arctic air that will plummet temperatures to a minus 11 degrees by Friday, with wind-chill temperatures hitting a minus 15 to 20 degrees.

The snow across the county Wednesday night totaled 2 to 3 inches, but Patterson said that with high winds gusting to 20 mph snow totals varied.

“The blowing and drifting snow made some have higher reports,” she said.

Over last weekend, Jefferson County recorded snow totals of 6.4 inches in Jefferson on Sunday, and up to 7 inches of snow blanketing the southern cities in the county.

Patterson said the arctic blast will not last long.

“(Temperatures will) slowly go up throughout the day (Friday) with mild temperatures by Saturday in the mid- to-low 30s.” she said.

Jude Hartwick, of the Homeless Coalition of Fort Atkinson, said that with cold temperatures, there will be shelter available for those who need it.

“If it’s below 15 degrees, the emergency shelter is open,” he said.

To reserve a spot, people can call the police station at (920) 563-7777.

“And then we alert the volunteers,” he said.

There already have been a couple of people who have signed up.

Around the Midwest

Students stayed home from school Thursday in Minneapolis and several businesses were closed in parts of the upper Midwest as Arctic air pushed wind-chill readings to dangerously low temperatures.

A wind-chill warning was in effect for northeastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota, with wind chill readings plunging to more than 40 below zero in some areas. Forecasters from the National Weather Service urged people to limit time outdoors and bundle up, as exposed skin could be subject to frostbite in as little as 10 minutes.

It’s possible that at least one death could be attributed to the cold. Police in Omaha said they found the body of Robert Freymuller, 80, early Thursday in a street not far from the assisted-living center where he lived. His death is being investigated, but police said he was not dressed appropriately for the weather; the wind chill had dropped to minus 26 degrees at that time.

In Minnesota, the coldest wind chill reading was in Fosston, in northwestern Minnesota, where the wind chill reached 48 degrees below, the National Weather Service said.

Schools, businesses and organizations were also closed or were opening late in Nebraska and Iowa on Thursday, as temperatures dropped to about 10-20 degrees below average in the northern and central Plains. Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin and northern Missouri were also under wind chill advisories.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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