Wet, frigid weather hits Upper Midwest

A snow-covered horse grazes a pasture near Cremona, Alta., Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, during the first heavy snow fall of the season. Heavy snow and plunging temperatures are expected to hit the Upper Midwest section of the United States this week, leaving as much of a foot of snow in its wake and pushing thermometer readings down 20- to 40- degrees overnight, part of a system being pushed in by the remnants of Typhoon Nuri that hit Alaska's Aleutian Islands with hurricane-strength winds over the weekend. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Heavy snow and plunging temperatures are expected to hit the Upper Midwest this week, dropping as much as a foot of snow on the region and pushing thermometer readings down by as much as 40 degrees overnight. The powerful storm, which is coursing into the area from Alaska, will likely bring the first major snowfall of the season.

Here’s what to expect:

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WINTER IS … HERE

The National Weather Service is warning that a ribbon of wet, frigid weather that pelted parts of Montana and the Dakotas with up to 3 inches of snow on Sunday will also crawl into Minnesota and Wisconsin early Monday. And keep your coats handy: the plunging temperatures are expected to linger, in some places dropping by as much as 40 degrees in a single day.

In Great Falls, Montana, the high temperature is predicted to be 17 degrees on Tuesday, compared with the normal high of 43 degrees. The forecast for Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a high of 25, which is about 20 degrees below normal. High temperatures in Minneapolis will only reach the upper 20s.

“We’re kind of getting locked in winter’s grip here,” said Troy Kleffmen, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Residents in Minnesota should also prepare for between 8 inches and 12 inches of snow. Kleffmen said northern South Dakota and southern North Dakota would probably get the brunt of the bad weather in the region.

National Weather Service meteorologist Gino Izzi in Chicago warned that city will be hit by wintry weathersooner than usual too. Izzi said highs are expected to settle into the 30s from Tuesday through Friday, while nightly lows could drop into the 20s, perhaps even the teens.

“It doesn’t look real promising for a warmup after that, either,” he said of the longer-range forecast.

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WHERE’S IT COMING FROM?

The weather is part of a system being pushed in by the remnants of Typhoon Nuri that hit Alaska’s Aleutian Islands with hurricane-strength winds over the weekend. That storm is expected to lose strength as it passes into the Bering Sea, but forecasters warned it will still push unseasonably frigid air into much of the U.S. this week.

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THE GOOD NEWS

Yes, there’s good news. Sort of.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration isn’t expecting a repeat of the 2013-2014 season. Federal forecasters predicted last month that this winter will be fairly average without a lot of extreme conditions such as last year’s Arctic influx from the polar vortex.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be cold, and other private weather forecasters are predicting a slightly cooler winter than NOAA. And, a reminder: NOAA didn’t predict the extreme low temperatures experienced last winter.

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READY. SET. WAIT.

If you’re flying in the coming days, expect delays. Delta Airlines says snow in parts of the Midwest may affect travel, including to and from Wisconsin and Minnesota. The airline recommends checking your flight status early and often.

Driving isn’t recommended in general in winter storm areas, especially in some remote areas of the Northern Plains, but if you must drive, be prepared; Have a full tank of gas, an emergency kit and exercise caution on slick roads with high drifts and low visibility.

Even though South Dakota rancher Roger Weiss lives 35 miles from the nearest town, Faith — with a population of less than 450 people — and 70 miles from a grocery store, in Sturgis, he said the coming snow generally doesn’t worry him.

“Roads are generally good, a lot of times they’re blowed clean,” Weiss said.

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