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Extreme cold closes schools

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The extreme cold has forced the cancellation of schools throughout the western Wisconsin area on Thursday.

Among the school districts closing for the day are New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central.

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Temperatures were near 20 below zero, with windchills around 41 below at 6 a.n. Thursday.

A wind chill warning for much of Wisconsin and Minnesota remains in effect until noon Friday.

Bitterly cold Arctic air coupled with northwest winds of 5 to 15 mph will continue wind chill readings from 35 to 45 below zero across east central and southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin through this morning. Some improvement in the wind chill values will occur this afternoon (Thursday) as temperatures gradually rise, but wind chill readings will still be 25 to 35 below zero.

As a persistent west northwest wind continues tonight, the wind chill readings will drop back down to 30 below to 40 below zero into Friday morning.

A wind chill warning means the combination of very cold air and winds will create dangerously cold wind chill values. This will result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken. When venturing outdoors, make sure that you dress in layers, and wear a hat and gloves.

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