Polar air and a strong winter storm put millions on winter alert this week


For millions of Americans across the country, the holiday week is starting with temperatures below freezing continuously made even worse by heavy snow expected Tuesday and Wednesday in several Central and Northwest states.

More than 30 million people are under wind chill warnings across the central and northwestern US, including in places slammed with blizzard conditions by a separate storm system last week. Parts of Alabama and Tennessee are also in the throes of wind chill as “feels like” temperatures are expected to plummet below zero degrees Celsius.

On Tuesday, the sprawling weather system is bringing dangerously cold temperatures and snow to Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and most of Minnesota, where highs will remain below zero degrees. . according to forecasters at the National Weather Service.

Weather forecasters warn that the air feels very cold, with frostbite on exposed skin that can occur in less than 10 minutes in most affected areas and some isolated locations. in less than 5 minutes.

“In addition to the extreme cold temperatures, dangerous cold wind values ​​of 35 to 55 degrees below zero are possible over the weekend across these regions,” the report said. Weather Center said second.

Wind chill recommendations apply to Sioux, South Dakota, and Fargo, North Dakota, Tuesday, when frostbite risk is in the making. Wind chill, indicating the feeling of wind, will drop as low as 40 degrees below zero.

“Starting tonight, the worst arctic air mass will reach our region, bringing dangerous temperatures and cold winds. Slippery roads with further snow accumulation are expected from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning.” weather service office in Glasgow, Montana, said Monday night.

Snow has begun in Seattle, which is under a winter storm warning on Tuesday. The storm will move eastward into parts of Idaho Tuesday morning and then spread across northern and central Montana by afternoon.

As the storm moves east this week, it could make holiday travel difficult, if not dangerous, in many places, with forecasters calling for all who is ready for change.

In Minnesota, the Twin Cities weather service urged residents to remain vigilant for a “potentially hazardous weather week,” with the worst impacts in the Midwest starting Wednesday.

“The bottom line is that travel will be very dangerous and possibly life threatening this weekend, so prepare to change your travel plans now!” local weather service office speak.

Many local governments in the affected areas have opened heating centers to provide relief to those in need.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was hit by a major winter storm last week.  The city was again under a winter weather warning on Tuesday.

Overall, most of the US is expected to have unusually cold temperatures this week. In fact, more than 80% of the country, excluding Hawaii and Alaska, is forecast to experience sub-freezing temperatures.

In Montana, Helena and Missoula are under a winter storm warning starting Tuesday, and Billings is under a wind chill warning through Friday afternoon.

The storm is also expected to strengthen as it approaches the Midwest, where the greatest impacts are expected. Snow will start in the area on Wednesday and last through the Christmas weekend.

In areas of central Minnesota, several inches of snow are expected Wednesday, followed by high winds, creating the potential for a blizzard. A blizzard is defined as having winds of at least 35 mph with snowfall or blowing that reduces visibility to a quarter of a mile or less, for at least three hours.

“On Thursday, 40-50 mph gusts are possible. With a fine layer of snow in place, blizzard conditions are very likely to occur over a wide area, even in areas that are not normally suitable for whitewash conditions.” weather service said.

Chicago is forecast to be one of the worst-affected cities, where a winter storm warning is in effect from Thursday night through Friday night. With possible blizzard conditions, holiday travel could be put on hold for many looking to celebrate with family and loved ones.

The weather services office in Chicago, home to one of the nation’s busiest airports and long-distance train depots, said: “Conditions deteriorated rapidly late Thursday afternoon, with stormy conditions. Dangerous snow is increasingly likely from Thursday night to Friday.”

Meanwhile, even southern cities not accustomed to frigid weather conditions will feel its crunch this holiday season, with Austin, Houston, Atlanta and even Orlando at risk. below freezing starting midweek.

In Texas, the National Weather Service making it necessary to reassure residents, this week’s unusually cold temperatures are not expected to hit the state as severely as last year’s devastating winter storms, when millions of people lost power in a cold winter. a week-long extreme weather event in February 2021.

However, the water pipes would be at risk of bursting, the weather service said. Wind Alert for Amarillo, Texas, in effect Wednesday night through Friday afternoon.

“Outdoor pipelines will be at risk due to sub-freezing temperatures and windy conditions this weekend,” the agency said. Weather Service in Fort Worth speak. “Make sure to seal the pipes and let the faucet drip!”


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