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Published January 22 2014

Weather service warns of ground blizzard in F-M area

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the Fargo-Moorhead region lasting from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Winds of 40 mph are expected to stir up a ground blizzard, with conditions varying widely between open country and sheltered areas such as towns and cities.

The warning covers the counties of Cass, Clay, Mahnomen, west Becker, Wilkin, west Otter Tail, Grant, Griggs, Steele, Traill, Barnes, Norman, Ransom, Sargent and Richland.

For the same area, a wind chill advisory will be in effect from 3 p.m. Wednesday to noon Thursday. In Fargo, wind chill values as low as minus 42 are predicted, and the temperature is forecast to dip to minus 12 by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The blast of winter weather has led to dozens of school closures and delays. Moorhead Area Public Schools will be closed; West Fargo Public Schools will open two hours late; and Fargo Public Schools are opening on time.

North Dakota transportation officials have issued a travel alert for the eastern part of the state because of blowing snow that's causing reduced visibility. Cities included in the alert are Fargo, Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Jamestown, Valley City and Wahpeton. A travel alert means that motorists can still travel, but should be aware of quickly changing conditions.

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the driving conditions range from difficult to hazardous in west central and northwest Minnesota, with U.S. Highway 2 closed from East Grand Forks to Crookston.

Via Twitter, Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol said a number of vehicles in the ditch have been reported.

"Reduced visibility is an understatement in the open country," he tweeted.

For road conditions in North Dakota and Minnesota, call 511.