70 below? Cold grips the United States as snow is possible even in the Southeast
Low temperatures across much of the U.S. left millions of Americans facing potentially dangerous cold on Sunday, as Arctic storms threaten near-blizzard conditions in the Northeast and several inches of snow in parts of the South.
The National Weather Service warned that windy and extremely cold conditions in Montana and the Dakotas could cause wind temperatures to drop to minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to the National Weather Service, an estimated 95 million people were exposed to weather advisories or advisories for wind chills below zero Fahrenheit. Meteorologists said the extreme cold was expected to extend as far south as North Texas.
Juan Villegas wore layers of clothing under his heavy coat on Sunday as he and nearly a dozen subcontractors cleared snow in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, where park benches and partially buried fire hydrants were covered in snow the day before the state’s presidential caucus. .
Working in temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit, Villegas said the best way to stay warm is to “keep moving.”
“If you stay doing nothing, that’s when you get really cold,” Villegas said.
Even parts of northern Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia could see snow. In Shreveport, Louisiana, Mary Trammell was among residents who stocked up on bottled water, food and fuel for generators ahead of a near-freezing weather forecast that will bring an inch of snow and leave roads covered in ice.
“It’s cold out here,” said Trammell, who told KSLA-TV she bought bread and ingredients to make enough soup to last her days. “I can get what I need and make sure the house is well stocked.”
Officials advised people to stay off the roads in Buffalo, New York, where between one and two feet of snow was expected. The storm forced the postponement of the NFL playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers from Sunday to Monday.
Workers worked with shovels and trucks Sunday to remove snow from the field at Highmark Stadium in Buffalo. In a post on X, previously Twitter, the Bills implored eager fans to lend a hand with the postponement and wait for word from the team on when it will be safe to travel.
“Looks like a very good day not to have a football game,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native, posted a video on X along with a video of power outage conditions in western New York City.
At least one Bills player was out due to inclement weather on Sunday making good use of his newfound free time. Offensive tackle Ryan Van DeMark shared a video on Instagram showing teammate Alec Anderson helping a motorist struggling with icy road conditions.
“The good Samaritan, Alec, helps people,” Van Demark narrates in a short clip posted Sunday morning.
Wind gusts up to 50 mph are also possible, said Zach Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland. “They are expected to see heavy snowfall, as well as strong winds,” Taylor said. “That’s why they expect to see near blizzard conditions at times.”
Airports across the country were affected. More than half of the flights to and from Buffalo Niagara International Airport have been cancelled. Dozens of flights were also canceled or delayed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Forecasters also warned Sunday that rapid falls of heavy snow and winds could cause a sharp and sudden drop in visibility in eastern Pennsylvania and parts of northern New Jersey and Delaware. The weather service warned motorists that such storms could bring “near whiteout conditions and rapid snowfall of a half-inch in just 10 to 15 minutes.”
Another arctic storm that dumped heavy snow in the Rocky Mountains is expected to head south, potentially bringing 4 to 6 inches of snow to parts of Arkansas, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee.
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency ahead of the severe weather to give utility trucks and trucks transporting essential supplies more flexibility to respond.
Officials in Jackson, Mississippi’s capital, are bracing for days of freezing weather after cold snaps in 2021 and 2022 caused burst pipes and low water pressure throughout the city of 150,000.
“We feel as confident as we can be that we’re prepared for whatever comes our way,” Ted Hennevin, interim director of Jackson’s troubled water system, told WAPT-TV. He added that 14 crew members were on standby to deal with any broken pipes.
The wild weather didn’t just bring snow and ice. Record high tides that submerged some homes in Maine and New Hampshire on Saturday also swept three historic fishing cabins into the sea from where they had stood in South Portland, Maine, for more than 130 years.
“History has just been washed away,” Michelle Erskine said Sunday, a day after she captured video footage of the last two log cabins sliding into the ocean.
More than 150,000 homes and businesses were without power in Oregon on Sunday after heavy snow and ice storms, according to poweroutage.us. Widespread outages affecting tens of thousands were also reported in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Authorities said severe weather in Oregon played a role in the deaths of three people. Weather-related deaths were reported earlier in California, Idaho, Illinois and Wisconsin.
By Ross Bynum, Associated Press
Associated Press journalists Nathan Elgren in Des Moines, Iowa; Philip Marcello in Long Island, New York; Nick Perry in Meredith, New Hampshire; Julie Walker in New York contributed to this story. Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia.