Christmas weather: Winter storm blowing through US is hampering holiday travel and bringing record low temperatures


A massive arctic explosion is causing temperatures to drop to dangerous levels in much of the country and “tornado bomb” is set to lift heavy snow and blizzard conditions, particularly in the Midwest on Thursday and Friday – a combination that makes for a dangerous few days before Christmas.

Cold fronts and storms are affecting nearly every state in some way: More than 110 million people from coast to coast are receiving a winter weather warning for snow or frost on Thursday morning. year, the National Weather Service said.

And more than 90 million people are under wind chill warnings from the Canada border to the Mexican border and from Washington state to Florida, with sub-zero cold winds recorded as far south as Texas on Thursday morning and expected. will arrive in the Southeast on Friday.

“Life-threatening cold winds over the Great Plains (will) spread across the eastern half of the nation on Friday,” Center for Weather Prediction speak — and wind chills below minus 50 degrees have been reported over the past two days in parts of Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming.


Several low temperature records were set Thursday morning in the West and South, and in some cases they have dropped this week with record speed: Denver International Airport saw temperatures drop 37 degrees in more than an hour on Wednesday, the largest single-hour drop recorded there, according to a report. National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, snow has made landfall in some areas in the West and is expected over the next two days over much of the eastern half of the country.

A major blizzard is brewing, particularly in the Midwest and Great Lakes – with light to moderate sporadic snowfall – but accompanied by strong winds that could make travel impossible.

“Heavy snowfall rates” of 1 to 2 inches per hour, “together with gusts above 50 mph will result in near-zero visibility and substantial snow blown and drift,” forecast center speak.

The storm is forecast to become a “tornado bomb” — a rapidly intensifying storm that drops a certain amount of pressure within 24 hours — from Thursday night to Friday, reaching pressures comparable to a Category 2 hurricane as it moves into the Great Lakes. This could be a “once in a millennium event,” says a forecaster at the Buffalo Weather Service office wrote Tuesdayafter noting that that kind of power-ups don’t often occur in the lower Great Lakes.

More than 1,800 flights were canceled across the US on Thursday, according to flight tracking website Flight knowledgeAir travel growls amid the busy holiday season.

Near-zero visibility on the roads led to the closure of many highways between Colorado and Wyoming on Wednesday. Wyoming Highway Patrol speak it answered nearly 800 service calls in a 12-hour period on Wednesday, asking motorists to stay off the road.

In South Dakota, more than 100 vehicles were stuck on snow-covered roads in poor visibility Wednesday night, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said.

Even Florida will not be spared, with residents of the Sunshine State expected to see a sudden drop in temperatures on Friday. Several cities in the South – including Nashville and Memphis – are expected to see snow on Thursday.

Meanwhile, flooding is possible in parts of the Northeast, including Washington and Philadelphia, as rain hits the region on Thursday before temperatures plummet overnight and bring “freeze flash.”

President Joe Biden received a weather briefing Thursday morning at the White House, from the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He encouraged Americans to heed local officials’ warnings and stay safe from the harsh cold.

“This is really a very severe weather warning here,” Biden said, adding that the White House had reached out to 26 governors in the affected regions.

Snow fell on Thursday morning from Colorado to Michigan

Snow and high winds are expected to create poor travel conditions from eastern Montana and the northern Plains to the Midwest and upstate New York.

Snow storm The warning – meaning snow and winds of 35 mph will regularly reduce visibility to less than a quarter of a mile for at least three hours – in effect Thursday morning in some of those areas, including the eastern southwest of Minneapolis, south and east of Chicago, and west and north of Michigan.

Snow is expected in Chicago around midday.

Major cities include Minneapolis, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Detroit are under winter storm warnings.

Cold wind warnings, clocks and tips went into effect for more than 30 states from Washington to Florida on Thursday.

The arctic front will push south into the Gulf of Mexico and wipe out the South China Sea late Friday, bringing the cold into the Deep South.

Daytime temperatures for Thursday could be below zero in the Northern Plains and slightly above those in the Central Plains.

The Hurricane Prediction Center says areas further south – Texas and the Gulf Coast – will see single-digit temperatures and lows Thursday night.

Officials in several southern states are warning residents to take precautions. Alabama warned Thursday and Friday it could have “the coldest December air mass to hit the state since 1989,” the state’s emergency management agency said. speak. Friday’s low in that state is expected to range from single digits north to a 20s low in the Gulf of Mexico.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards request residents on Thursday to check in with friends and family members who may be struggling with frigid temperatures. Friday and Saturday’s lows are expected in the teens and 20s there.

Two locations in Wyoming set records early Thursday for the lowest temperature ever recorded at a particular location, regardless of the date on the calendar. Those new records are minus 41 degrees in Casper and minus 29 in Riverton.

Other locations in the West and South set record lows on Thursday any December 22. These include several places in Montana (including minus 34 degrees in Boseman and minus 20 in East Cut Bank); Greybull, Wyoming, (except 26); East Rapid City, South Dakota, (negative 18); Ketchikan Airport, Arkansas, (3); and three places in Washington state, including minus 20 degrees in Pullman.


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