MINOT – Even for those accustomed to winter in North Dakota the upcoming stretch of cold and wind is a bit out of the ordinary. The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Warning lasting through Christmas Eve.
“There’s very cold Arctic air infiltrating the region,” said Megan Jones, Bismarck NWS meteorologist. “It happens every once in a while, but this is pretty impressive as far as this point in the season. Normally this happens in the February time frame.”
The wind chill, a combination of very cold temperatures and gusty winds, will plummet to minus 35 by Tuesday morning and dip to minus 40 or greater each night this week. Daytime wind chill readings are attention-getting too.
“The outbreak has some very cold temperatures along with the wind, especially later in the week,” said Jones. “We knew that this winter was going to be cold with the on-going La Nina. I’m not particularly optimistic that it’s going to be warm the rest of the winter.”
Warm is a relative term. Any rise in temperature after a week of sub-zero readings and bone chilling winds will be a relief. And, says Jones, a return to more normal winter temperatures should follow this cold snap.
“It does look like there is a little bit of relief on the way,” said Jones. “Maybe Christmas Day. Maybe after that.”
Minot’s forecast calls for a daytime high near 2 above zero on Saturday, Christmas Eve, with a high of 18 above Christmas Day.
The NWS warns that “dangerous to life-threatening values as cold as 55 below are expected, especially Wednesday evening through Friday morning” with temperatures remaining near or colder than -10 for several days, including “36 to 48 hours straight of wind chills between minus 35 and minus 55.”