150 million people woke up this Tuesday under some type of weather alert due to the Arctic cold wave that continues to affect a wide swath of the United States. The storms have also been linked to at least nine deaths this week.
Dangerously cold winds continued to affect much of the Rockies, Great Plains, and the north-central United States, with wind chills of -30 degrees Fahrenheit in many areas of the central United States. The storm caused the death of four people in Oregon, two of them due to possible hypothermia. Another man died when a tree fell on his home and a woman died in a fire that started in a kitchen after a tree fell on a mobile home. In Wisconsin, the deaths of three homeless people in the Milwaukee area were being investigated, probably from hypothermia, according to authorities. A man driving a snowmobile also died Sunday night when he was hit by a semi-trailer in Utah, where the mountains accumulated nearly 4 feet of snow in one day. In Wyoming, a backcountry skier died in an avalanche.
Flights and suspended classes, blackouts, and the coldest caucus in history
Delays and weather-related flight cancellations again brought chaos to airlines and airports. According to FlightAware, more than 9,700 flights within, to, or from the United States were delayed Monday and more than 3,300 were canceled. Before dawn on Tuesday, there were already almost 1,200 cancellations. Some 50,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity in Oregon in the early hours of this Tuesday, after widespread blackouts that began on Saturday. In Louisiana, 21,000 customers were still without service early in the morning, according to the PowerOutage website. Transportation officials urged people to avoid travel, as dangerous road conditions were expected due to ice, which could also cause falling trees and power lines.
Classes were canceled Tuesday in Portland and other large cities such as Chicago, Denver, Dallas, and Fort Worth. The freezing temperatures in the northeast did not prevent fans in New York from coming to cheer on the Buffalo Bills at a snow-covered Highmark Stadium. The game was postponed 27 and a half hours due to a storm that left more than 2 feet of snow in the region. And voters gave a victory Monday to former President Donald Trump on the first day of the primaries, in an Iowa caucuses that he defeated its cold record. Temperatures dropped to 3 degrees Fahrenheit in Des Moines, with much lower wind chills.
The Danger of Very Cold Wind Chills
Temperatures dropped as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit Monday night in Olive Branch, Mississippi, and Jackson, Tennessee. Montana experienced thermal sensations below – 40 degrees. “These thermal sensations could cause frostbite on exposed skin within a few minutes and hypothermia shortly thereafter,” the National Weather Service warned. “Avoid outdoor activities if possible.” Jacob Asherman, an NWS meteorologist cited by USA Today, said the primary concern for much of the lower 48 states “remains extremely cold temperatures and associated significant winter weather.” Asherman said subzero temperatures and colder winds will prevail through Tuesday, as wind chills drop below -30 degrees in the Plains and -50 degrees in Montana and the Dakotas.
Further south and east, potentially dangerous winter storms bringing a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain were heading toward the Tennessee Valley and the Gulf Coast states to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York. Winter storm warnings were in place for Lawrence, Limestone, and Madison counties in Alabama and Franklin County in Tennessee, as well as southeastern Arkansas, northeastern Louisiana, and much of northern, central, and southwestern Mississippi. Temperatures were expected to moderate by midweek, although a new cold wave would affect the south, from the northern Great Plains and north-central to the southeast of the country at the end of the week.
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Weather, World, Health