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Expect freezing rain, snow Wednesday night into Thursday

BEMIDJI -- A winter storm watch has been issued for the Bemidji area as a mix of freezing rain and snow, followed by falling temperatures, is forecast for the region into Thursday.

The Bemidji area could see between 3 to 5 inches of new snow Wednesday night into Thursday, according to the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, N.D., which oversees the Bemidji region.

The winter storm watch is in effect from 3 p.m. Wednesday through noon Thursday, the weather service said, and includes Beltrami, Cass, Hubbard and Clearwater counties, as well as the cities of Bemidji, Red Lake, Bagley, Cass Lake and Park Rapids.

According to the weather service, the Bemidji area is located within a band of the storm system that could see the most snow, from 3 to 6 inches, but the snowfall is not expected to fall until Wednesday evening. Most of Wednesday will be cloudy with a slight chance for precipitation. The heavy winds and snow for the Bemidji region should come after 9 p.m. Wednesday and overnight into Thursday.

"The strong winds will bring blowing snow and near-zero visibility at times with very difficult to impossible travel conditions Wednesday night into the Thursday morning commute," the forecast said. Also, ice accumulations up to a tenth of an inch are possible in some areas, the weather service said.

During the storm and the immediate aftermath, another arctic blast is expected to move in, with wind chills as low as 30 below in some areas. That follows a general warm-up in the region, with Bemidji hitting 33 degrees on Tuesday.

Here’s a look at the forecast:

  • Wednesday: A chance of snow before 2 p.m., then a chance of snow and freezing rain between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., then a chance of snow after 4 p.m. Patchy fog between 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Otherwise, cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 26 by 9 a.m. South wind 5 to 11 mph becoming north northwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
  • Wednesday night: Snow. Patchy blowing snow after 9 p.m. Low around 3 below. Wind chill values as low as 22 below. Blustery, with a north northwest wind 13 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.
  • Thursday: A 40 percent chance of snow before noon. Patchy blowing snow before 1 p.m. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 2. Wind chill values as low as 26 below. Blustery, with a north northwest wind 14 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.
  • Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 21 below. Northwest wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.
  • Friday: A 30 percent chance of snow after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 1 below. North wind around 6 mph.
  • Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 21 below. North northwest wind around 6 mph.

The weekend should be clear, with temps around 2 below in the day and 20 below at night.

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