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Coldest air to hold off until early Thursday

A fierce arctic cold front blew through the Northland early today, sending thermometers plunging in a free fall that won't recover much until the weekend.

A fierce arctic cold front blew through the Northland early today, sending thermometers plunging in a free fall that won't recover much until the weekend.

The temperature already had dropped to zero before noon in Duluth, down 41 degrees in less than 24 hours.

Temperatures were expected to continue fall all day and bottom out near 20 below around Duluth Wednesday morning, even colder to the north.

Wind chill readings will continue to remain dangerous into Thursday morning with readings from 30 to 50 below zero.

Wednesday's high temperature will remain below zero and Thursday morning's low could hit 21 below in Duluth and as cold as 35 below near the Ontario border, the National Weather Service in Duluth is forecasting.

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Only light snow is now forecast for northern Minnesota this afternoon, with little accumulation, although strong winds could reduce visibility at times, said Steve Gohde, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Duluth.

Heavier snow still is expected to fall in north-central and northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Gohde said.

Slippery roads and sidewalks in some areas spurred school closings from the Iron Range through the Twin Ports and North Shore and into Northwestern Wisconsin early today, and many senior and recreation programs are closed for the day. But many road conditions improved quickly this morning after Monday night's freezing rain.

Many accidents were reported on icy streets and roads, but the Minnesota State Patrol this morning had reported only one serious injury accident in Northeastern Minnesota. It occurred at about 7:30 p.m. Monday in Hibbing when a van struck a pedestrian on U.S. Highway 169 in icy conditions. Names of people in the accident have not been released.

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