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An arctic cold front moved through the region during the overnight December 30, 2018. Northerly winds gusting in excess of 45 mph combined with a fresh snowpack to create blizzard conditions the following day, New Year's Eve. This created dangerous travel conditions throughout much of the day within the affected areas. Blizzard conditions were largely confined to an area within the Red River Valley in far eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota extending into far northeastern South Dakota. While snow did fall over some areas leading up to the blizzard, no snow was actually falling during blizzard conditions. This became what is known as a ground blizzard. Gusty winds also combined with temperatures behind the arctic cold front into the teens below zero creating dangerous wind chills near -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

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