By WCCO-TV Staff

Read Friday’s weather story here.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans are getting hit with a one-two punch of winter weather. First, a sloppy storm rolled over Minnesota on Thursday morning, bringing freezing rain and up to 5 inches of fresh snow in some areas. Now, a mass of arctic air is blowing into the state, threatening dangerously-cold wind chills and the lowest temperatures of the season.

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On Friday morning, wind chill factors look to be around minus 14 in the Twin Cities and around minus 20 in northern Minnesota. Saturday is expected to be even colder, and Sunday colder still. The frigid forecast even pushed the organizers of the Luminary Loppet in Minneapolis to reschedule the weekend’s events, pushing them forward to Thursday and Friday nights. 

The coldest period is expected to be Saturday night though Tuesday, when the core of the arctic air mass moves over the state, dropping air temperatures below zero, even into the negative double digits. Wind chill factors could be as cold as minus 30 in the Twin Cities. Parts of west-central and northern Minnesota could experience wind chill factors near minus 40. In such conditions, frostbite can set in on exposed skin in 30 minutes.

Early Thursday morning, a storm system pushed into Minnesota from the south, drizzling freezing rain over much of southern and central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro. Before sunrise Thursday, the wintry mix had turned mostly to snow, which began to stack up on roads. Some schools switched to online class or planned to close early due to the difficult driving conditions.

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From 5 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Minnesota State Patrol reported 201 crashes and 195 spinouts across Minnesota, with 21 people injured. Four semi-trucks also jackknifed during that timeframe. Troopers also reported that earlier in the morning that a 60-year-old man was killed in a three-car crash on Interstate 94 near Albany.

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The snow fell through the late morning hours before the system pushed into western Wisconsin around noontime. As for totals, the Twin Cities saw 2 to 4 inches stack up, with the higher totals in the suburbs to the north and the west. Across southern and central Minnesota, localized bands of heavy snow left more than 5 inches is areas such as Redwood Fall and Faribault.

The National Weather Service says arctic air began blowing into the state mid-Thursday, with gusts as strong as 35 mph. The winds whipped up the freshly-fallen snow, reducing visibility. The blustery conditions will continue into the weekend.

So, will temperatures soon rebound back into the 30s? Not anytime soon. The cold air looks to linger into the middle of next week. Highs on Wednesday are forecasted to be in the single digits, and overnight lows will be subzero.

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