The US has been hit by a brutal cold wave brought by an arctic front, freezing much of the territory. However, there will be a brief respite on Wednesday with the return to normal temperatures in the winter, but it will be very brief and localized because another polar blast is on the way.
The National Weather Service (NWS) warns that although this surge of arctic air does not appear as extreme as the first, extremely cold temperatures are possible in some areas of the Central Plains this weekend. In southern Texas and East of the Gulf Coast, high temperatures will return to the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit this Thursday, according to the NWS forecast. But toward the Northern and Central Plains, values will continue to be recorded well below the average for the date, which will reach the southern United States on Friday.
The cold northwest flow will bring bands of intense lake effect snow towards the west of the Great Lakes, especially south of Lakes Erie and Ontario. Snow warnings have been issued with accumulations of between 1 and 3 feet through Thursday night. Another system should bring another round of light snow to the Midwest.
A Pacific storm system responsible for significant freezing rain in Portland continues its track toward the Washington coast, where heavy snow is expected in the inland mountains, the NWS says. Moderate to major winter storm impacts are expected in the Cascades and Northern Rockies region due to a combination of heavy snowfall and snow accumulation rates greater than 2 inches per hour.
In southwestern Washington state and western Oregon, between 0.25 and one inch of ice are expected, while freezing rain was expected for the Seattle area. Schools were closed in many places, bus circulation was reduced and shelters for homeless people were opened. Authorities warned of poor road conditions and the possibility of new power outages as crews tried to restore service to thousands of users who had been without power for days. In Oregon, transportation authorities closed 47 miles of the highway. Interstate 84, a major east-west cross-country highway, from Portland through the Columbia River Gorge, due to the threat of ice.
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