Winter storm pummels US from New Mexico to Maine - with record lows of -50f in heartlands and Iowa caucuses under threat as 10 inches of snow cancels event as Texas braces for power grid shutdown
January 14, 2023
Officials are warning about deadly temperature drops and dangerous road conditions.
- From coast to coast, Americans have been faced with far below zero temperatures, negative wind chill, and snow, sleet, and rain storms
- Officials are warning about deadly temperature drops and dangerous road conditions
- At least two people have died in Oregon from storm-related issues, part of five who have died across the nation
A deadly cold spell is hitting the US, causing temperatures to drop as low as -50 degrees as wind, snow and ice present hazardous conditions from coast to coast.
Weather professionals are warning of 'life-threatening winter weather,' and the National Weather Service has issued alerts in the majority of states. At least five deaths have already been reported due to storm-related issues.
The Midwest, which is seeing massive sub-zero drops in temperature, has gotten more than a foot of snow in some places.
In Michigan and Wisconsin, tens of thousands of people were without power heading into the frigid weekend. The cold is also threatening to impact the Iowa caucus on Monday with low temperatures potentially impacting turnout.
“How cold could it actually be?”— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 14, 2024
According to Accuweather, the Arctic air, which is the coldest the country's seen in a few years, is triggering lake-effect snow and whiteouts across parts of the Upper Midwest and non-coastal Northeast.
Travelers in the Northeast are warned that snow squalls can quickly create near-zero visibility conditions on roads.
New York City will see multiple nights this week when the overnight temperature drops into the 20s.
Senior Accuweather Meteorologist Matt Benz said: 'For much of the country, this will end up being the coldest and most persistent outbreak of Arctic air in a couple of winters.'
BLIZZARD FALLS… i was able to make it over to Multnomah Falls this morning as a blizzard hit the Columbia River Gorge with high winds, blowing and drifting snow, and frigid temps. Lots of ice and snow with the outlet creek almost frozen over. Wow! #LiveOnK2 #Portland pic.twitter.com/cW74mBuxGZ— Mike Warner (@MikeKATU) January 14, 2024
In Iowa, where the grand kick-off to the official Republican presidential primary season will take place Monday, candidates have been struggling to make their final appearance before voters make their final decisions.
Iowa Republicans will face below-zero temperatures on Monday, which may depress voter turnout.
Candidates, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former President Donald Trump are publicly optimistic that their supporters will show up anyway - though the weather has impacted their own schedules.
Trump's campaign canceled three of four campaign events on Friday. Political newcomer and candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said his vehicle got stuck in a ditch while driving in perilous weather to Des Moines from Northwest Iowa.
Haley and DeSantis have also been forced to cancel appearances ahead of the caucuses.
National Weather Service data suggests Monday will be the coldest Iowa caucus night on record.
'I would not be surprised if we don’t get above minus-20 degrees for wind chills beginning on Sunday,' Des Moines-based meteorologist Chad Hahn told the Associated Press.
In the Great Plains, wind chill warnings have ranged from -55F to -35F.
In the Midwest, where temperatures dropped into negative numbers during Saturday night's NFL Playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs faced off, wind chills might dip as low as -35F.
Videos and images from fans at the game showed beverages instantly freezing over.
Wind chills that high can cause frostbite on unprotected skin in just a matter of minutes, according to NWS.
'Take it seriously. This kind of cold does not happen very often,' wrote a Missouri branch of the NWS.
In Schiller Park, a suburb of Chicago, a 60-year-old man died last week due to environmental cold exposure.
The unnamed man was the first exposure victim of the year in Cook County, though a 74-year-old woman died in early December on the Lower West Side of Chicago due to cold exposure and hypothermia.
In the South, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Tennessee are being delivered their own orders of snow, sleet, and freezing rain over the weekend. In Texas, the National Weather Service said wind chills could drop to -25F.
In the Lone Star State, average low temperatures hovering around 15F have created some unease among state energy suppliers, who oversaw a grid collapse during the winter of 2021.
Governor Greg Abbott said another blackout was unlikely, but wanted residents to be 'very, very cautious.'
Most of North Texas was placed under a winter weather advisory for Sunday and Monday with freezing rain and sleet set to hit the area.
A wind-chill advisory is also in place with temperatures expected to dip as low as -12 degrees, according to the Dallas Morning News.
On the West Coast, Washington State and Oregon are experiencing similar conditions. Roads are slicked with ice and sleet, and the arrival of Saturday's storm brought high winds that led to downed trees.
Local law enforcement offices have urged individuals and families to stay inside.
Temperatures are hovering in the 20s, but ice accumulation in some areas is a concern.
In Colorado, the snow over the weekend has created conditions for avalanches to occur.
Several avalanche warnings were already in place late last week around the West Elk mountain range.
Officials say all mountain zones will be affected, and all will likely be categorized under a high danger rating through Monday.
Thousands of people in Western Oregon lost power Saturday afternoon as a storm deposited 4-5 inches of snow in and around the Portland area.
In Portland, two people have died in separate incidents when trees fell on their homes in strong winds, according to the Oregonian.
One person, in Lake Oswego, was asleep on the second-story when a tree hit their home. That victim has not been identified. Another person in the same area died when a tree fell on the parked RV and started a fire. The RV victim was a woman in her early 30s, authorities said.
On the East Coast, the storm brought high water levels to parts of the northeast, including Maine and coastal Massachusetts.
Parts of the New York tri-state area have experienced several inches of rain fall since Friday night. The storm caused flooding in New Jersey near the Passaic River.
Sections of Manhattan's Henry Hudson Parkway were also closed due to flooding.
#WNY: A look at downtown #Buffalo this morning as lake effect snow and strong winds continue. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. Blizzard conditions are expected through the day.— New York State Thruway Authority (@NYSThruway) January 14, 2024
The commercial vehicle ban remains in effect on I-90 between exit 46 and the PA line. pic.twitter.com/gZsB4CZUSU
On Sunday, the NYC forecast calls for wind chills in the 20s most of the day, with a chance of a snow squall around midday, according to NBC New York.
Sub-freezing temps are expected Sunday night and could lead to icing where flooding has been a problem.
In upstate New York, up to three feet of snow was forecast to hit the Buffalo area - even prompting the move of the Bills-Steelers NFL playoff game from Sunday to Monday.
'If you're in the snow band it's pretty bad,' Poloncarz said on the 'Daybreak' morning show, according to the Buffalo News. 'We're anticipating snowfall rates of 2 inches per hour, and with the wind, it's creating whiteout, blizzard-like conditions throughout the county.'
A travel ban was put in place for the area on Saturday night, and Gov. Kathy Hochul said most people followed the regulations.
'We did not have many major problems overnight, which is almost unheard of for a storm of this scale,' she said, according to the Buffalo News. '(It’s) really good news, considering what it might have been.'
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