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SW ND temps drop back below zero

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From Friday to Saturday, Dickinson residents and visitors went from experiencing a virtual heat wave to being slapped with a bone-chilling blast of arctic air.

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Though the wind-chill-aided low for Saturday night in Dickinson was expected to approach 40 below zero, according to the National Weather Service, people were prancing along slush-covered sidewalks just hours before, induced by temperatures that reached 40 degrees on Friday.

Taking wind chill out of the equation, Dickinson still experienced a drop in temperature of close to 50 degrees in mere hours.

“With wintertime temperatures, that kind of a change is rare, but it’s certainly not unheard of,” said NWS Bismarck meteorologist Michael Mathews. “For Dickinson, we’re also expecting up to 3 inches of snow from Sunday through Tuesday, but the worst of the wind should have died off Saturday night.”

Mathews said the temperature in Bismarck reached 44 on Friday, but also dropped rapidly into Saturday. After a brief respite above zero, Mathews said the high for the Dickinson area for Tuesday is expected to be in the negatives.

On the travel front, roads remained mostly clear in the Dickinson area Saturday, though some spots were bothered by blowing snow from wind gusts close to 30 mph at times. The North Dakota Department of Transportation and state Highway Patrol issued a no travel advisory Saturday for parts of northern and northeastern North Dakota, which was updated periodically throughout the day.

A travel alert was issued for areas including the cities of Fargo, Jamestown and Valley City, in addition to Williston, Minot, Devils Lake and surrounding areas. Especially when temperatures reach dangerously frigid levels, the Highway Patrol encourages motorists to travel with a winter survival kit, cellphone, and to let others know of their travel plans.

Parts of Minnesota are also being affected by the deep freeze with some areas expected to experience their lowest temps in several years over the course of the final few days of 2013.

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Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
(701) 456-1207
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