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Bundle up: Wind chills of minus 40 degrees forecast for the weekend

Ice clings to the mask of a construction worker, who wasn't working Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, after riding his bicycle almost 9 miles from south Fargo to downtown in the single-digit temperatures. Dave Wallis / The Forum

FARGO — It's expected to remain frigid here into the new year, with this weekend potentially bringing wind chills of minus 40 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Air temperatures this weekend in Fargo are predicted to dip to about minus 20 degrees. In such cold and windy conditions, frostbite can occur in as little as 10 minutes, said weather service meteorologist Nick Carletta.

Tuesday's high of minus 7 degrees, with wind chills as low as minus 22 degrees, prompted the weather service to issue a wind chill advisory until noon Wednesday.

The cold also caused sleigh rides in Moorhead to be cancelled Tuesday, with hopes of offering them the rest of the week — if weather cooperates.

At Fargo's Veterans Administration Health Care building, some employees wore their coats indoors to keep warm Tuesday. It wasn't that the VA's heating system wasn't working, but it couldn't keep up with the cold conditions.

VA spokesman Ross Tweten said cold air found its way in through the main entrance at 2101 N. Elm St., which is under renovation to address the issues. Only about 15 feet separate two sets of sliding glass doors, but the new entrance will allow for more space between doors, with the intention of keeping the cold out.

The cold wasn't affecting patients' rooms, Tweten said, and space heaters were provided to staff. "They're still there working, but are wearing their coats," he said.

According to the weather service, Thursday will see a high of 6 degrees. Friday will have a high of near minus 4 degrees and a low of minus 21 degrees. Saturday's temperature will reach a high of minus 9 degrees and hit a low of minus 20 degrees, and Sunday's temperatures will be relatively the same.

Folks can celebrate New Year's Day with temperatures expected to rise above zero — if only by 2 degrees.

Average temperatures for this time of year are about 19 degrees for a high and 3 degrees for a low, Carletta said, but the weather lately hasn't been record-breaking. For example, Carletta said on Christmas Day in Fargo this year, the low was minus 19 degrees. In 1933, the record low was set on Christmas at minus 31 degrees.

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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