Powerful winter storms battered the United States on Wednesday, with heavy snow snarling travel across wide swathes of the country, even as unseasonably warm weather was expected elsewhere.
The storms are expected to dump up to two feet (60 centimeters) of snow across a wide swath of the country from the West Coast to the Great Lakes, grounding flights and cutting power to tens of thousands.
Heavy snowfall warnings were even issued for usually sunny areas near Los Angeles, as well as for more typical winter weather spots in the far north.
National Weather Service forecasters said two rounds of snow would blanket parts of Minnesota in a “historic winter storm (that) will likely lead to impossible travel.”
“Heavy snow will combine with northeast winds 35 to 45 mph (55 to 70 km/h)… This will lead to significant blowing and drifting snow with whiteout conditions in open areas. Some movements may be several feet deep,” a warning. said.
“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of emergency. Travel should be limited to emergencies only. If you must travel, carry a winter survival kit. If stranded, stay with the vehicle your.”
More than 1,550 flights into, into or out of the United States had been canceled by 0000 GMT on Thursday, according to Flightaware.com, with its “Misery Map” showing Denver, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis-St Paul particularly affected. the blows.
Roads were also difficult, with Wyoming suffering from problems even on major highways.
“Please change your travel plans if you are heading to Wyoming,” the state’s transportation department posted on its Facebook page. “A major winter storm and multi-day closures are likely on interstates and secondary roads across Wyoming!”
About 280,000 properties were without power across the country, according to Poweroutage.us, nearly half of them in Michigan, where snow, freezing rain and freezing rain knocked down power lines, leaving them vulnerable to strong winds.
‘COLD AND DANGEROUS’
An unusual blizzard warning was in place for the mountains around Los Angeles from early Thursday, with snow expected even at relatively low elevations.
“Now is the time to prepare for a cold and dangerous winter storm expected for most of the week,” the Los Angeles NWS warned.
“Several FEET of snow is expected in the mountains with a few inches possible up to 1,000 feet. Strong and potentially damaging winds are also expected.”
While not everyone expected to wake up to a whiteout, people in Los Angeles will also be treated to the sight of snow-dusted mountains.
“Nearly the entire population of (California) will be able to see the snow from a vantage point later this week if they look in the right direction (ie towards the higher hills nearby),” he tweeted. climate scientist Daniel Swain of UCLA.
It will be cold by Southern California standards, but forecasters warned that some areas of the country will be very cold, with parts of the northern and central plains seeing wind chills as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit (-34 C).
But while the West and parts of the northern United States are shivering, eastern areas will be unusually warm.
“These highs on Thursday will be especially anomalous for the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic, where temperatures 40+ degrees above average will feel more like June than February,” the NWS said.
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