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Published January 31, 2013, 01:52 PM

Dangerous wind chills blanket the Dakotas

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — "Skin-freezing cold" may not be the scientific term. But the dangerously cold weather that settled over the Dakotas on Thursday was just that — cold enough to freeze skin within minutes.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — "Skin-freezing cold" may not be the scientific term. But the dangerously cold weather that settled over the Dakotas on Thursday was just that — cold enough to freeze skin within minutes.

The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories and warnings throughout both North Dakota and South Dakota into Friday morning. Forecasters said wind chills in some areas could drop as low as minus 55 degrees — prime conditions for frostbite. Winds were expected to reach up to 30 mph.

Many schools in South Dakota either called off classes Thursday or started late. In Sioux Falls, the wind chill was about minus 33 at 10 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. The real temperature was minus 8. In Watertown, about 100 miles north of Sioux Falls, wind chills reached minus 45 degrees.

A winter weather advisory also was posted for the northern Black Hills of western South Dakota early Thursday, with up to 8 inches of snow expected.

North Dakota, though colder, didn't have as many school closings. The capitol city of Bismarck was minus 13 degrees at about noon. Devils Lake, Minot and Williston each were minus 17. With wind chill, it felt closer to minus 40 degrees, but most schools stayed open.

The forecast calls for much warmer temperatures in both states by the weekend as the arctic air moves out.

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