A winter storm and deep freeze descend across the United States before the Arctic air blasts

A winter storm and deep freeze descend across the United States before the Arctic air blasts

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The National Weather Service expects more cold temperatures, ice and snow to descend across the United States before another blast in the Arctic later this week.

Widespread wind chill warnings have been issued through Wednesday morning for the Midwest and South, where wind chills are expected to drop below zero again.

Hard freeze warnings were also issued for parts of the South, especially along the Gulf Coast, where the weather could damage water pipes and sensitive plants. Temporary relief from the cold air will bring temperatures closer to winter averages. Parts of south and east Texas are expected to see “real warmth” with highs in the 60s and 70s, the weather service said.

The relief won’t last long for some, as another arctic blast will bring cold temperatures across the northern and central Plains by Thursday.

Severe weather forced school closures and travel chaos on Tuesday, as arctic air from Canada dropped temperatures below freezing in three-quarters of the country. About 68 million Americans were under a winter weather warning, and the snow drought in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., ended after two years.

About 4 inches of snow fell in the Washington, D.C., area, forcing the closure of many businesses, offices and schools. The snow had ended, but the deep freeze had just begun, and the temperature was not expected to rise above freezing until Thursday. By Friday, the emergence of another system could mean another deep freeze lasting throughout the weekend.

What are the coldest cities in the United States? A cold front sweeping across the nation sends temperatures plummeting

Oregon homes lose power in storms

While the vast majority of Americans suffering from freezing temperatures can find comfort inside warm homes and businesses, more than 50,000 people were experiencing power outages Tuesday evening in Oregon, where half of the 14 reported deaths attributed to Arctic explosion.

The Pacific Northwest was generally bracing for freezing rain and ice, but western Oregon was expecting the worst, with the state’s three largest cities — Portland, Salem and Eugene — expected to get up to a half-inch of ice early Wednesday. Before that. Postponed for later today.

Many residents will have to brave cold weather without heat after some areas lost power due to a weekend storm and severe weather hampered repair efforts. Although smaller-scale power outages have hit other parts of the country, no other state has as many as 10,000 electric customers in the dark, according to poweroutage.us.

Oregon weather map

Developments:

∎ Of the 14 weather-related deaths over the past few days, five people in Oregon died of hypothermia and two died from falling trees. A truck collided with a snowmobile in Utah, a skier was killed in an avalanche in Wyoming, and three people died of suspected hypothermia in Wisconsin. On a slippery Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, two people were killed Tuesday when their SUV collided with a snowplow.

∎ More than 10,500 flights were delayed or canceled as of 8 p.m. EST Tuesday. More than 36,000 such disruptions were reported from Saturday to Monday, a travel-heavy weekend due to the Martin Luther King holiday.

∎ Classes have been canceled for millions of students, including Portland, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Dallas and Baltimore. Many schools have already canceled classes for Wednesday as well.

∎ Authorities in Texas and the Tennessee Valley region have asked residents to voluntarily reduce electricity use to avoid power outages resulting from high demand.

∎ In Kentucky, Powell County Search and Rescue led a team that successfully rescued four hikers trapped in the Red River Gorge, calling the operation “one of the most dangerous rescues ever conducted in the gorge.”

US weather monitoring and warnings

National weather radar

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