Residents of the northern plains braced for a downpour on Wednesday as a massive winter storm is expected to affect lakhs of people, bringing record snowfall in some parts of the country.
Schools in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin have announced closures ahead of Wednesday’s major storm as officials warned residents to stay off the roads because of possible “whiteout” conditions.
The National Weather Service has issued winter storm, blizzard and high wind advisories for swaths of the western and north-central US with up to two feet of snow expected in some areas by Thursday.
‘Multiple meteorological hazards’
The National Weather Service said the arrival of a large Arctic air mass from Canada “interacting with energetic upper-level patterns and multiple frontal systems forecast to move through the country this week will bring a number of meteorological hazards.”
The weather service said widespread heavy snow is expected to continue across the west and northern tier of the country, with storm totals of 1 to 2 feet of snowfall expected across most of the west’s mountain ranges. It said heavy snow is expected across east-central Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.
Wind gusts could reach 50 mph over parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota, with wind gusts expected to reach minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the weather service.
“As forecasters predict up to 20 inches of snow, I have directed state agencies, including @MnDPS_MSP, @MnDOTAnd @MNNationalGuardto take steps to prepare,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said in a do on Tuesday.
Residents warned to ‘limit travel’
“We’re working to make sure we’re prepared — and Minnesotans have a part to play, too. Plan ahead, drive safe, and limit travel,” he said.
“Snowplow crews will be working throughout the state, but this storm may doze,” the Minnesota Department of Transportation said in a statement. do,
Schools across the state also announced closures, with Minneapolis Public Schools stating on its website that all MPS buildings would remain closed “due to the upcoming winter storm”.
“We will have e-learning days for all MP students for the remainder of this week,” the district said.
“On Wednesday the snow will begin to reduce northwards and concentrate southwards by Thursday,” it said.
strong winds and lightning
California is also facing winter weather, with winds expected to bring possible rain, snow and hail to parts of the state starting Tuesday.
As of Wednesday morning, thousands of utility customers across the state were without power. According to online outage tracking website PowerOutage.us, more than 154,700 customers were affected by the outage.
The National Weather Service warned “There will be little or no break from active weather in California as another Pacific storm system is forecast to approach the coast late Thursday, with the potential for low-lying rain/snow at higher elevations.” “
record hot somewhere
Meanwhile, moderate to locally heavy rain, as well as some thunderstorms, are expected for the lower elevations of the West Coast, with rain expected from the Pacific Northwest Wednesday as far south as the California coast through Thursday.
As much of the US grapples with snow and cold weather, record warming is expected in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
“Higher temperatures will climb from the southern plains Wednesday-Thursday east into the 70s and 80s across the Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic,” the National Weather Service said. “These highs on Thursday will be especially odd for the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic, where temperatures 40+ degrees above average will feel more like June than February.”
The Associated Press Contribution,