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      125 schools close Thursday as wind snow and cold peak

      Wind whipped snow will lead to low visibility Thursday with bitter cold temperatures.

      Over 125 schools across the 7&4 viewing area closed Thursday due to blowing/drifting snow along with dangerously cold Wind Chills.

      While it may not be quite the last hurrah to winter, Northern Michigan is getting a glancing blow from the Polar Vortex that is centered north of Lake Superior. There are two main issues that Northern Michigan residents will have to deal with through early Friday.

      The first is widespread blowing and drifting of snow. Although we are not forecasting much accumulation Thursday (less than an inch) for any one area, sustained brisk winds from the northwest will blow around whatever snow does come down along with whatever is on the ground. This will greatly reduce visibility and cause some drifting of roads with near whiteout at times, especially near open areas and fields.

      The second issue to contend with is how frigid it is. Temperatures will fail to reach 5F in most spots with some locations remaining below zero all day. When you marry those temperatures together with northwest winds gusting 25-35 mph, Wind Chill readings will sit in the -15F to -30F range, dangerous cold that only takes minutes in for frostbite to develop on exposed skin.

      Winds will die off this evening and skies will actually clear with some late day sunshine giving way to stars Thursday night. Actual air temperatures will freefall with lows ranging from -1F at Manistee to -25F at Sault Ste. Marie.

      Highs Friday climb closer to 10F with clouds increasing. A band of light snow will cross Northern Michigan Friday night.