More than 850,000 power outages reported in cross-country winter storms, with more snow, ice and blizzards ahead



CNN

Brutal winter storms are expected to bring snow, blizzards or icing across swathes of the US from California to the Northeast on Thursday, part of a multi-day event that has already closed roads and caused numerous power outages – even with the South-East throbbing too high. temperatures.

More than 60 million people are under winter weather warnings Thursday morning from the West into the northern Plains, Great Lakes region and New York and New England. That’s part of a string of storms that have already left more than 850,000 homes and businesses without power, mostly in Michigan – which was hit by some freezing rain and ice that damaged utility lines and trees – and in other parts of the Midwest , according to PowerOutage.us tracking.

Heavy snow has already hit some of these areas in the past two days – including, as of early Thursday, more than 40 inches in parts of southern Wyoming; up to 32 inches in northwest Montana; and generally 3-6 inches across Nebraska and the Dakotas.

Search and rescue operations were underway Wednesday afternoon in several counties across Wyoming to retrieve drivers trapped in heavy snow, the state highway patrol said. said.

In Minnesota, which had 3-7 inches with locally higher amounts early Thursday, more than 160 vehicle crashes and multiple car wrecks were reported Wednesday, a Minnesota State Patrol spokesman said. Lt. Gordon Shank said in a series of tweets.

In Wisconsin – similarly battered by Tuesday’s snow in the north and Wednesday’s freezing rain in the south – Gov. Tony Evers declared a statewide energy emergency on Wednesday, saying it will allow for “quicker and more efficient restoration to make up for any electricity power outages across the country. state,” said a news release from his office.

Hazardous travel conditions are expected to continue in many of these areas on Thursday. Snowfall of up to 1 to 2 inches per hour could hit parts of the West, northern Plains and Great Lakes on Thursday, with winds as high as 40 to 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The combination will cause “significant impacts including major disruptions to travel, infrastructure, livestock and recreation,” the service said.

The upper Midwest and Northeast could see an additional 6 to 12 inches of snowfall, with higher amounts locally, through Thursday, the service said.

And a blizzard warning extended Thursday morning from central Iowa to the Wisconsin-Illinois line and through southern Michigan — with freezing rain threatening ice piles that could make morning travel “almost impossible” in places, the service said.

Police and emergency workers try to free vehicles from snow on Mountain View Parkway in Lehi, Utah, on February 22, 2023.

Out west, in an extremely rare event, California’s Los Angeles and Ventura Counties will be under a storm warning from Friday morning to Saturday afternoon, the weatherman said. That is the first blizzard warning issued by the Los Angeles weather service office since 1989, he said.

“Almost (the) entire population of California will be able to see snow from some vantage point later this week if they look in the right direction,” according to Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The chance of snow in California’s major cities is slim, but it will fall a lot nearby.”

Meanwhile, the Southeast will continue to see unusually high temperatures Thursday — as high as 30 to 40 degrees above normal — after more than 30 daily highs were recorded there and parts of the Appalachians and lower Midwest on Monday Wednesday. More than 80 such records could be broken on Thursday.

A dueling winter storm and southern heat wave created a massive 100-degree temperature difference between the Northern and Southern Rockies earlier this week.

Treacherous winter storm conditions across wide swaths of the western and northern US have severely disrupted daily life in some areas, prompting local officials to issue warnings against hitting the roads.

More than 680 flights within, into or out of the US were scheduled to be canceled on Thursday, according to the tracking site FlightAware. That’s after more than 1,600 flights were canceled on Wednesday.

Since the storm began Monday afternoon, cumulative snowfall has reached dozens of inches in several cities, including 48 inches in Battle Lake, Wyoming, 32 inches in Dupuyer, Montana, and 29 inches in Park City, Utah .

Areas of California that rarely see snow could experience significant snowfall starting Thursday, as heavy rain and mountain snow begins to develop in parts of the state, the weather service said. In addition, flood watches were issued for low-lying areas, including Los Angeles.

Hazardous conditions have led to safety measures being put in place in many states.

• Wisconsin airport closed in advance: Green Bay international airport canceled the rest of its daily flights Wednesday evening and most of its flights Thursday morning.

• Road closures in several states: Dangerous conditions prompted highway closures in several states Wednesday, including South Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona, North Dakota and Minnesota.

• Maine government offices closed: The Gov announced Janet Mills said state offices would be closed Thursday because “the storm is expected to bring significant snow to most of the state,” her office said in a release.

A Southwest Airlines plane before takeoff at the snowy Salt Lake City International Airport on Wednesday.

After Wednesday brought warmer than normal winter air across the Southeast on Wednesday, Thursday will bring some of the same.

Record thousands are expected on Thursday from Ohio to Florida. Highs could be as high as 35 degrees above normal for parts of the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley.

Dozens of daily highs were reached or tied on Wednesday, including 98 degrees in McAllen, Texas, and 87 degrees in Naples, Florida. In Atlanta, Georgia, a record was set for February with 81 degrees, which is the city’s typical mid-May average.

By the end of the week, there are more than 100 potential highs stretching from the Gulf of Mexico up to the Great Lakes.

The region also experienced severe storms across the Mississippi River Valley on Wednesday, with more than 30 storms reported across the region.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated which city reached 87 degrees on Wednesday. It was Naples, Florida.

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