Forecasters have posted a blizzard warning for the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota as snow, strong winds and plunging temperatures move in.
The storm is creating difficult travel conditions early Wednesday with a large number of schools canceling classes, including North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a no travel advisory for the northern Red River Valley.
Meteorologists expected wind gusts to 50 mph and whiteout conditions, especially in open, rural areas. Snow accumulations will be low, at 1 to 2 inches expected, but the wind is expected to blow around existing snow, potentially leading to ground blizzards.
First Alert meteorologist Aaron Doudna said wind chills will drop to -20 to -40 by Thursday morning.
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(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)