Winter storm hits US, threatens to disrupt holiday travel plans

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                Dangerously frigid Arctic air masses hit large swaths of the United States on Thursday, and an looming winter storm of historic magnitude threatened to upend the travel plans of millions of Americans.                </p><div>

                <p>An impending storm is expected to bring blizzard conditions to the Great Lakes region heading into the holiday weekend, with heavy rains followed by rapid freezing of the East Coast, 60 mph (100 kph) gusts and frigid Antarctic weather forecast. It was done. as the Mexican border.

As the storm formed over the Great Lakes on Thursday, the weather phenomenon known as a bomb cyclone is likely to come from a “rapidly deepening cyclone” system, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the cyclone will cause snowfall of 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) per hour and howling winds across the upper Midwest and northeastern inland areas, which could reduce visibility to near zero.

Combined with the Arctic cold, temperatures are projected to drop to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in the High Plains, northern Rockies and Great Basin, according to the NWS. Exposure to such conditions without proper protection can cause frostbite within minutes.

Power outages were likely to occur in combination with high winds, heavy snow and freezing conditions, combined with increased overall energy demand, and storms were expected to make travel virtually impossible.

The extreme cold poses a particular danger to livestock in heavily pastored areas. Tyson Foods Inc TSN.N, the nation’s top meat producer by sales, said it has scaled back operations to protect its employees and animals.

President Joe Biden told the White House that it was “dangerous and threatening” and urged Americans planning to travel not to delay their trips and leave on Thursday. No stuff. As a kid, this is serious.”

By the afternoon, more than half of the 48 contiguous U.S. states from Washington to Florida had cold weather warnings and other winter weather advisories, affecting more than 200 million people, or about 60% of the U.S. population, the Bureau of Meteorology said. is reporting.

The NWS map of Thursday’s looming weather hazard stretches from border to border and coast to coast, “marking one of the largest expansions of winter weather warnings and advisories to date,” the agency said. increase.

“Whiteout Christmas”

As the storm front moves eastward from the Plains and Great Lakes, some areas could see more than a foot (30 cm) of snow, according to Weather Service meteorologist Ashton Cook. A snow squall was expected from Illinois to Indiana, with possible whiteout conditions.

The American Automobile Association estimates that 112.7 million people planned to travel more than 50 miles (80 km) from their home between December 23rd and January 2nd.

More than 4,500 U.S. flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday were canceled, with Chicago’s two major airports accounting for more than 1,200 of the cancellations, according to flight tracking service FlightAware.

“They’re ruining Christmas,” Nadia Dickens, 42, who works for a management company in Gallatin, Tennessee, said Thursday after her flight from Nashville was scrubbed.

She was looking forward to heading to Corpus Christi, Texas, for her family reunion on Christmas Day, where she would make tamales with her 94-year-old grandmother. After her relatives offered to make the four-hour drive to take her to her family reunion, Dickens booked another flight to Austin, Texas, but she was pessimistic. I stayed.

“It’s going to snow an inch overnight and the weather is going to be terrible everywhere,” she said.

A frigid air mass that first enveloped northern states moved south through central Oklahoma and northwestern Texas, with mercury plummeting into single digits on Thursday.

In February 2021, hundreds of Texans died after the state’s power grid malfunctioned during a winter storm, leaving millions without electricity. The Texas Electric Reliability Council (ERCOT), which has worked to protect the grid since then, “expects to generate enough power to meet projected demand at this time,” spokeswoman Christy Penders said. said.

Temperatures in the southern and southeastern plains could remain below freezing for several days, more than 30 degrees below normal, the NWS forecasts.

Greg Carbin, director of forecast operations for the NWS Weather Prediction Center in Maryland, said freezing or freezing cold would bisect central Florida, with temperatures about 25 degrees cooler than normal.

Drivers in valleys in Ohio and Tennessee were warned that wet roads could freeze instantly as temperatures drop.

The NWS also warned of freezing rain in parts of northwestern Oregon and Washington, where another storm was forming on Thursday.

Georgia followed North Carolina and Kentucky on Wednesday in declaring a state of emergency. Temperatures in North Georgia were predicted to reach 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 12 degrees) with sub-zero wind chill.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said at a news conference: “We expect weather like we haven’t seen in over a decade.

24-year-old Brandon Mathis said his flight from New York City to Atlanta was canceled Thursday due to an upcoming storm, leaving him “hurried” at LaGuardia Airport in Queens.

Mattis said he is looking for alternative routes, including the 21-hour bus trip to Atlanta.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to get there,” he said.



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