This week, a severe winter storm is inflicting damage across the United States.
The storm is expected to bring everything from blizzards to tornadoes to the Midwest, Great Plains, and South after dumping snow on Western mountain passes over the weekend. According to CNN, as of Tuesday, over 14 million people living further north were subject to winter weather warnings or advisories, while about 21 million people between Texas and Mississippi were at risk for severe storms.
Every person in the nation will experience the effects of this winter storm at some time this week, according to a previous report by CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.
Beginning in the American West, the storm closed down roadways and threatened avalanches. According to Axios, there have been reports of road closures in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain region. The storm dropped 54.5 inches of snow, according to the Central Sierra Snow Lab at UC Berkeley, according to The Guardian.
According to Alaska climate scientist Brian Brettschneider’s tweet on Monday, Anchorage, Alaska, recorded a snow depth of 31 inches, which is the most since March 2012. There have been four days of school closures.
It’s quite unusual. We were unable to return to school due to unsafe road conditions, according to MJ Thim, a representative for the Anchorage School District, as quoted by CNN.
Moving east, The Guardian reported that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has issued a travel advisory through Thursday after icy conditions caused a tour bus to crash in Utah on Monday morning, injuring 23 people.
Tuesday’s severe thunderstorms to the south are said to have caused damage and claims of tornadoes. According to CNN, at least one tornado made landfall in Grapevine, Texas. In the city outside of Dallas, there were at least five injuries, and there were also damage to businesses. In Wayne, Oklahoma, a tornado that was confirmed to have struck also damaged structures and cut power.
The National Storms Service (NWS) stated in an update on Tuesday that there will be a risk of both flash flooding and severe weather from the Lower Mississippi Valley into the Southeast.
The exceptionally moist air going north from the Gulf of Mexico collides with the cold air heading east at the front of the storm, increasing the likelihood of thunderstorms and tornadoes. According to a NWS tweet, there may be a tornado threat into Wednesday.
The danger is present further north in the form of significant snowfall, sleet, and ice.
The NWS warned that a major storm system is still posing serious, widespread weather risks to the central United States, including flash flooding and blizzard conditions. By late Wednesday, wintry precipitation will have moved from the Upper Great Lakes to the Northeast.
Through Wednesday morning, the NWS estimated that the Northern High Plains will receive 10 to 18 inches of snow, with more than 18 to 24 inches possibly falling in western South Dakota, eastern Wyoming, and northern Nebraska. Meanwhile, three to four-tenths of an inch of ice might accumulate in northeastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa, placing these areas in danger of losing power.
According to the NWS Weather Prediction Center, the northern and central high plains could experience blizzard conditions with snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour and wind gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour. Power outages, difficult travel, and harsh circumstances for cattle could result from this.
Axios claimed that 2,700 flights were canceled on Tuesday due to the blizzard. The Guardian reports that portions of Interstate 90 from Massachusetts to Montana have also been closed.
According to a second Tuesday update from the NWS, the snow will travel east on Wednesday and Thursday as the present storm collides with a second storm over areas of the Mid-Atlantic.
This indicates that the Upper Midwest will see snowfall on Wednesday, and the Lower Great Lakes, Central Appalachians, and Mid-Atlantic on Thursday.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, the climate crisis can intensify winter storms because warmer air retains more moisture, which turns to snow when temperatures freeze.