Friday, February 24, 2023

Winter storms wreak havoc across the United States, from California to the northern plains

Winter storms ravage US from California to northern plains

 On Thursday, hazardous winter weather kept motorists stranded on icy roads, cut off power to hundreds of thousands, and grounded multiple flights from California to the northern Plains.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the mountains of Southern California through Saturday for the first time since 1989. The Sierra Nevada region would see "multiple rounds of new snowfall" with accumulations of up to 3 to 5 feet (0.91 to 1.5 meters).

“Given the depth of cold air that has infiltrated the West,” the weather service stated, "rare snow is also expected over some lower foothills and valley areas near the Pacific Coast."

Forecasters stated that through Saturday, the intense moisture in the air also increases the likelihood of flash flooding. Forecasters said that up until Thursday, waves could reach 10 to 14 feet (3 to 4 meters) high in some coastal areas.

From coast to coast, the series of storms caused chaos. Over 65 million people in more than two dozen states were under weather alerts at one point on Wednesday. According to the weather service, high temperatures on Thursday could reach 40 degrees above average in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, while temperatures in some parts of the upper Midwest could fall 40 degrees below average.

Schools and offices were forced to close in the northern United States as a result of the wintry mix, and churches were forced to cancel Ash Wednesday services.

The Transportation Department of Wyoming announced via social media that most of the state's southern roads were impassable.

Sgt. said that high winds and drifting snow made it "near-impossible" for rescuers to reach people trapped in vehicles. the Wyoming Highway Patrol's Jeremy Beck.

High winds and heavy snow in the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest prevented search teams from reaching the bodies of three climbers who were killed over the weekend in an avalanche on Washington's Colchuck Peak.

In Portland, Oregon, dozens of cars spun out during the afternoon rush hour Wednesday due to the unexpectedly heavy snowfall, which resulted in traffic jams lasting for several hours. For those who were homeless, the regional bus service provided free transportation to warming shelters.

High winds, falling temperatures, and blowing snow caused the closure of several interstates and other highways in Arizona. People were instructed not to travel by the Arizona Department of Transportation. On Thursday, snowfall could reach 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 centimeters) per hour, according to forecasters.

Forecasters in California said that conditions could include several feet of snow blown by gusts of 60 mph (96 kph) and a wind chill of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius) in higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada through Saturday.

The weather service stated that it had received reports of either hail or graupel—soft, wet snowflakes encased in supercooled water droplets—in Sacramento, the state capital.

In the north, heavy ice accumulations and strong winds toppled power lines, damaging electrical grids. Lines were clogged with tree limbs and other debris in California.

Authorities reported that on Wednesday, a firefighter in the village of Paw Paw in southwestern Michigan passed away after coming into contact with a downed power line. Dan Abbott, the sheriff of Van Buren County, described the incident as a tragic accident that was "no fault of the firefighter."

In Michigan, more than 681,000 customers were without power; in Illinois, over 84,000; in Wisconsin, over 58,000; approximately 32,000 in New York State and approximately 42,000 in California as of Thursday morning, according to

According to the tracking service FlightAware, the weather also played a role in nearly 1,800 U.S. flight cancellations on Wednesday and another 759 by Thursday morning. Over 6,000 additional flights nationwide were delayed.

On their way back to Belvidere, Tennessee, Taylor Dotson, her husband Reggie, and their 4-year-old daughter Raegan had to wait two hours for their flight to Nashville at Denver International Airport.

Reggie Dotson was in Denver for an airline pilot job interview.

Taylor Dotson commented, "I think that's kind of funny that we've experienced these types of delays when that's what he's looking into getting into now as a career."

The extreme weather left few places unaffected, including some at the other extreme: Cities in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic, and Southeast saw record highs broken.

According to the weather service, Wednesday's high temperature in Nashville reached 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), breaking a 127-year-old record for the date.

Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Atlanta; Louisville, Kentucky; and Mobile, Alabama, were just two of many that set records.

However, there was no indication of a warmup this week in the northern United States. The National Weather Service warned that parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin could see more than 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow. The most snow ever recorded in the Twin Cities was 28.4 inches (72 centimeters) from October 31 to November 3, 1991, according to the weather service.

The weather service reported 16 inches (41 centimeters) of snow in Savage, a suburb of Minneapolis, and 10.1 inches (26 centimeters) in Minneapolis-St. Paul, as of Thursday morning. Paul International Airport, with only a slight expectation of more. It stated that numerous roads remain covered in snow and are sometimes closed.

The weather service tweeted, "Fortunately this storm didn’t produce the amounts it had the potential to, but it still produced a lot, and combined with the windy conditions it is simply not safe to travel right now."

In Grand Forks, North Dakota, temperatures could fall as low as minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 29 degrees Celsius) on Thursday and as low as minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 32 degrees Celsius) on Friday. According to Grand Forks meteorologist Nathan Rick, wind chills may reach minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 46 degrees Celsius).

This week, powerful winter weather will move toward the East Coast. Forecasters warned that areas without snow could experience dangerous amounts of ice.

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