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A Bemidji State University student trudges through the snow near campus on Wednesday afternoon. — MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER

Another day of double-digit inches of snowfall for Bemidji, region

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BEMIDJI — The storm in two parts didn't disappoint. More and more snow continued to fall Wednesday, prompting schools and businesses to close early, as well as creating difficult driving conditions in the city of Bemidji and the region.

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Much of northern Minnesota remained in a winter storm warning through 6 a.m. Thursday, and cold weather settled into the region overnight that could bring wind chills between 15 to 30 below today.

Wednesday's snow came after the region already was blanketed with up to 10 inches in some areas on Monday. A total of up to 12 inches of new snow was forecast to fall through Wednesday evening, according to the website of the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, N.D., so it's a good bet that nearly 20 inches of snow fell in some places in the lakes area since Monday.

Other areas of the Minnesota received even more snow than the Bemidji area -- parts of northeast Minnesota near Duluth saw 28 inches of snow, and the city of Duluth recorded 18 inches by Wednesday morning.

The new snow, coupled with increasing winds created blizzard-like conditions for area roads. The heavy snow and ice has contributed to hundreds of traffic accidents around Minnesota and was cited in at least four fatal crashes since Monday, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

In Bemidji, overall weather and road conditions deteriorated throughout the day. The city of Bemidji plowed the main arterial streets in the city through the afternoon, before pulling them. They were expected to be back out on the streets by 2 a.m.

Bemidji Area Schools closed two hours early, and the Bemidji Public Library also closed early. Several other organizations, including Bemidji State University, cancelled Wednesday evening events.

The majority of roads in northwest and northern Minnesota were listed as "difficult" on the state Department of Transportation website, including U.S. Highway 2 and state Highway 89. Many roads were listed as having "blowing snow and slippery" conditions.

For road information, call 511 from any type of phone or go to the MNDOT website, www.511mn.org. If you are stranded in your vehicle, and have a cellphone, you should call 911 for help and stay inside the vehicle, MNDOT said in a release.

Forecast

There is only a 20 percent chance of snow for today, the weather service said, but temperatures will drop significantly -- today's high is only forecast at 6 degrees, but with a possible wind chill of 19 below zero. Friday and Saturday will be about the same, and possibly colder, and there's a slight chance of more snow on Sunday, according to the weather service.

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