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Extreme cold staying through Thursday

WEST MICHIGAN -- We've experienced the coldest temperatures we've seen in more than 20 years across the FOX 17 viewing area, and the unusually cold weather really won't lose its grip on the area until Friday. At least two locations in West Michigan experienced their coldest high temperature ever for today's date, January 30th. In Grand Rapids, we saw a high of just 2°.

In Kalamazoo where a west/southwest wind blew off the land all day and not the open waters of Lake Michigan, the high temperature only reached -1°.

It's also important to note that this high in Kalamazoo occurred at 2:09 AM, before the core of the coldest air arrived. Since then, temperatures fell through the morning and stayed at -10° or colder from sunrise to sunset.

And of course when the wind is factored in, the cold air was made to feel even more brutal. Wind chills as low as -42° were recorded through the course of the day with this extremely cold air mass and winds that occasionally gusted to 30 mph.

Although wind chills will rise slightly tomorrow as temperatures inch upward a few degrees and winds gradually relax, we're still under a Wind Chill Warning until 7:00 PM Thursday for most of the FOX 17 viewing area. Wind chills as low as -30° or colder are still possible.

The counties in pink are also under a Winter Storm Warning for additional snow and blowing snow -- along with bitterly cold wind chills -- through 7 PM Thursday. Here is a look at how much additional snow we're expecting from Wednesday night through Thursday:

Although these snowfall totals don't look overly impressive, there will still be an issue with blowing snow and near zero visibility at times with a stiff west to southwest breeze continuing at 10 to 15 mph. The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Grand Rapids is also giving weight to the forecast wind chills in hanging on to the Winter Storm Warning for the counties shaded in pink in the previous graphic.

Here is a look at tomorrow morning's forecast wind chills for the area:

At noon tomorrow wind chills will modify somewhat, but will still be bitterly cold in the -15° to -25° range for  most areas.

And by 6 PM tomorrow evening, wind chills will climb several more degrees as those west/southwest winds drop to around 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday night into Friday, we could see one more round of light snow before a warm-up ensues for the weekend. For details on some unseasonably warm temperatures coming our way by early next week, be sure to tune in to FOX 17!

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