Two powerful winter storms hit U.S., leaving more than 2 million people without power
Two powerful winter storms are bringing widespread areas of wintry precipitation from coast to coast, leaving some 900 000 customers, or estimated 2.2 million people, without power. While heavy snow, significant icing, and blizzard conditions are affecting portions of the Upper Midwest eastward into the Northeast, heavy rain, snow, wind, and cold temperatures are impacting much of California. Dangerous travel conditions are expected.
- A deep layer low will produce heavy snow across the terrain of California and heavy rainfall across southern California.
- A swath of heavy snow and locally significant ice will stretch from the Great Lakes to the Northeast.
- Record-breaking warmth is expected over the East going through Thursday as extreme cold hits the Northern Plains and the Intermountain West.
A prolonged major winter storm continues to sweep across portions of the West, northern Plains, and Great Lakes regions, bringing with it heavy snow and blizzard conditions.
The National Weather Service (NWS) warns of significant travel disruptions, infrastructure damage, livestock loss, and recreational interruptions.
The storm, which consists of a series of low-pressure waves, is expected to result in as much as 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) of snowfall rates per hour in some areas. High winds with speeds of up to 64 to 80 km/h (40 to 50 mph) will accompany the storm, causing significant impacts.
Additionally, the Great Lakes and Northeastern areas are predicted to see another 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) of snow, with some locations potentially receiving up to 46 cm (18 inches).
These regions are already experiencing massive power outages and damage to trees and other infrastructure. Michigan is the worst affected with more than 680 000 customers without power as of 13:10 UTC today. Illinois had 87 500 customers without power at the same time, Wisconsin 55 413, California 39 000, and New York 32 000.
The total number of customers without power as of 13:10 UTC exceeds 869 000, according to the Power Outage. Considering that the average household size in the United States is roughly 2.6 people, this leaves an estimated 2.2 million individuals without power.
California is also experiencing unsettled weather as a new storm system develops off the West Coast, bringing heavy snowfall of 0.91 to 1.52 m (3 to 5 feet) in the Sierra Nevada region. The Great Basin and Four Corners region will also see snow accumulation of 0.30 to 0.61 m (1 to 2 feet).
The West is currently experiencing extremely cold air, and this Arctic air is expected to spread across the northern High Plains and upper Midwest regions. The temperatures will be as much as 17 to 22 °C (30 to 40 °F) below average, with some areas in the northern High Plains recording temperatures well below 18 °C (0 °F).
In contrast, the Arctic front and evolving winter storm will create record-setting warmth, with temperatures in the Ohio Valley, the Mid-South, Gulf Coast, Southeast, and southern Mid-Atlantic areas expected to reach highs of up to 27 °C (80 °F) on Thursday. These temperatures could approach, and potentially exceed, monthly records for February.
1 Short Range Forecast Discussion – NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD – 227 AM EST Thu Feb 23 2023
Featured image credit: Live Storms Media (stillshot)
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