Arctic blast bears down as more than 200 million Americans under threat from massive storm
An arctic chill extending from coast to coast will bring blizzards, floodings, gusty winds and hazardous ice as more than 200 Americans brace for below-freezing temperatures this week.
Winter Storm Heather
Winter Storm Heather has already caused several storms with winds reaching 70 mph in the South, where the worst part of the arctic air is yet to come.
Snow is expected to hit the South for the first time this winter along with winds of 10 to 25 mph — which could cause frostbite to exposed skin in just 30 minutes.
In New Orleans, temperatures plunging to subfreezing are forecast this week.
Below-freezing temperatures are expected to remain in the region before it moves into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast by late Tuesday, CNN reports.
Black ice, treacherous roads and exposed pipes are expected.
Winter Storm Impact
In the county that includes Portland, Oregon, which is more used to wintery rain than ice and snow, the winter storm has left behind a deadly path.
Three deaths resulting from the snow were reported there on Saturday, according to KGW, after a person died by hypothermia and two other fatalities occurred when trees came down.
Officials in the county had declared a weather emergency and opened severe weather shelters for the homeless.
Governors from New York to Louisiana also declared states of emergency ahead of predicted snow and bone-chilling temperatures.
In Buffalo, a phenomenon known as lake-effect snow, which occurs when cold winds move across warm lake water, is expected on Sunday. New York City could experience temperatures in the 20s next week.
Weather Warning and Effects
Emergency responders helped evacuate some residents from their homes in Paterson, New Jersey, early Friday as the Passaic River started overflowing its banks.
Storm Heather, in addition to one earlier in the week, also prompted flooding concerns in Maine and New Hampshire.
In St Louis, the National Weather Service bureau warned of rare and “life-threatening” cold.
The fridge weather caused whiteouts in portions of the Upper Midwest and impacted campaign events in Iowa, the leadoff GOP caucus state, where gusty winds and temperatures in the minus 30s were forecast.
Black ice from freezing rain caused wrecks and brought Kansas City, Missouri, to a standstill. The Overland Park Police Department shared footage of a seven-car pile-up on US 69 that nearly missed an officer who was closing down the road following another crash.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, meanwhile, urged Texans to get ready for a chill with ice on the way Monday that is expected to continue until Tuesday evening.
Most of Arkansas, and several regions in Tennessee, including Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville, were expecting at least three inches of snow from Sunday on.
Chicago experienced several inches of snow through, with wind gusts to 50 mph and wind chills as low as minus 15 degrees F that could cause frostbite to exposed skin in just 15 minutes, according to the weather service.
Dangerously frigid weather are expected to follow across the Rockies and the Plains, while heavy rain across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic is forecast to threaten river and coastal flooding.