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Hello winter: Cold, blustery weather coming

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Hoosiers who have been wishing for a cold snap are about to get their wish, likely mixed with snow, gusts of wind above 40 mph and temperatures that can numb toes, noses and ears.

A strong storm system moving through southern and central Indiana is expected to bring rain and then perhaps an inch of snow today with a low of 24 degrees tonight.

Coupled with blustery winds, it will be enough to push the overnight wind-chill factor to a frigid feel of 4 degrees, weather forecasters said. The Columbus City Garage reports having trucks ready to treat icy road conditions as necessary.

The only consolation may be that today’s low won’t be the coldest temperature on record for the date. That icy honor belongs to Dec. 20, 1981, when thermometers registered minus 12 degrees, according to AccuWeather data.

Freezing low temperatures are expected to last past Christmas Day with wind chill factors likely to dip below zero for at least two days after the holiday. The AccuWeather long-range forecast shows a partly sunny Christmas Day with a high of 43 and a low of 26.

But temperatures are expected to fall from there to a low of 11 degrees on both Wednesday and Thursday after Christmas. Wind chills will make those temperatures feel as low as minus 10 degrees on exposed skin.

The National Weather Service says a “potent low pressure system” will move across Indiana today heading for the Great Lakes region, drenching a large swath of Indiana along its route.

“Rainfall will change to snowfall beginning late Thursday afternoon, and the remaining precipitation will be all snow by Thursday evening. Snow will continue in portions of the area through midday Friday,” the weather service forecasts.

“Light accumulations appear likely, especially over northern portions of central Indiana. Accumulations should range from an inch or less over southern portions of the area ... to two or three inches across northern portions of central Indiana.”

The weather service said sustained winds of 25 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph may cause travel problems, and motorists should be wary of reduced visibility caused by snow driven by the winds.

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