Brutal temperatures won't depart the region anytime soon as wind chills continue to dip well below zero through Tuesday.

After that, it will get really cold -- with temperatures far below normal and the wind chill dropping to 40 below zero at least once, according to the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

The 26 inches of snow left by two heavy weather systems is still presenting challenges to snowplows statewide as high winds create deep drifts.

Rick Krolak, meteorologist for the Bismarck office of the National Weather Service, forecast wind chills of 20 to 25 below zero for today. While wind speeds are expected to ebb to 10 mph, single-digit highs and bitter lows will remain in Bismarck and central North Dakota through Wednesday, he said.

Today's high is expected to reach 5 degrees and lows will dip to 15 below zero. Similar temperature fluctuations will be maintained through Tuesday.  

Between Friday and Saturday nights, there is a 60 percent chance of further snow accumulation, Krolak said.

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April Ulrich, a shift leader at StaMart truck stop, said the business was busy Wednesday as truckers prepared their rigs to move out when Interstate 94 reopened. An estimated 60 rigs waited out the storm there.

"Everybody is getting ready to head out. Half to two-thirds have left. A lot of people are buying here, getting ready for the next storm," she said Wednesday.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol have extended a no-travel advisory to include areas in eastern North Dakota due to near-zero visibility with blowing and drifting snow. Motorists in these areas should not travel as driving conditions are hazardous.

A no-travel advisory remained in effect Wednesday for portions of north-central North Dakota, including Minot, Harvey, Bottineau, Crosby, Stanley, Bowbells, New Town and surrounding areas. A travel alert remained in effect Wednesday for Bismarck and surrounding areas.

The long-range outlook for Dec. 15-21 shows highs of zero to 5 degrees and lows below zero. The average high for that time of year is in the low 20s and the average low is about 5.

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(Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com)