UNDATED (WJON News) -- A strong winter storm will start off with snow Wednesday morning, followed by a brief lull before transitioning to gusty winds Thursday.

This will create blowing snow, reduced visibility, & life-threatening wind chills if you get stranded.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect until midnight on Wednesday.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

The St. Cloud area could see between 6 and 8 inches of light fluffy snow on Wednesday and Wednesday night.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

A Blizzard Warning will go into effect at 6:00 p.m. Thursday and will be in effect until 6:00 a.m. Saturday.  For the Blizzard Warning, blizzard conditions are expected. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph.

A Wind Chill Warning will also be in effect starting at 6:00 p.m. Thursday and last until noon Saturday. For the Wind Chill Warning, dangerously cold wind chills are expected. Wind chills as low as 40 below zero.

Dangerously cold wind chill readings on Thursday and Friday will make it impossible to be outside for any length of time.  The homeless shelters in the St. Cloud area are preparing to take in more people.

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Several schools have announced an early release on Wednesday with some also already canceling classes for Thursday.

Power companies are worried the strong winds combined with the snow still on the trees from last week could cause tree branches to fall creating power outages.

Getting to your holiday destination could prove tricky over the next few days with a dangerous winter storm in the forecast. MnDOT's Anne Meyer says plow crews are ready and in it for the long haul:

This storm really comes with three big challenges the potential for heavy snow followed by really strong winds and then we've got extreme cold temperatures to boot

Before heading out Meyer encourages you to check road conditions at 511mn.org or by calling 5-1-1.

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