Heavy snow and blizzards in the Midwest ahead of a ‘dangerous’ polar blast that could set record levels across the US
A massive winter storm has brought another round of heavy snow to the Midwest, sparking blizzard warnings in at least six states and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights before an Arctic blast that will plunge temperatures to potential record lows across much of the country. . Country.
More than 1,000 flights were canceled across the United States Friday, including more than 600 at Illinois airports, due to the snow. A ground stop has been issued at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for all flights due to snow and ice. More than 2,000 power outages were reported, leaving nearly 100,000 customers in the Chicago area without power.
According to the National Weather Service, blizzard conditions are expected to continue throughout the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes through Saturday.
Behind the storm, extremely cold temperatures are likely across the Rockies and Plains this weekend, the weather service said.
The system — combined with a polar blast from the polar vortex — has the potential to create a “bomb cyclone” in the Midwest as well as more heavy rain, coastal flooding and severe weather in the Southeast and East Coast.
The return of the “polar vortex”
The polar vortex is a huge circular region of cold air at the top of the atmosphere that usually swirls over the North Pole. But sometimes it will turn south, as happened now.
“The stratospheric polar vortex now extends across North America,” Amy Butler, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wrote in a blog post.
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So how cold will it get? USA Today explains:
By Monday morning, 88% of the contiguous United States could see temperatures below freezing. The extreme cold is expected to extend to the Gulf Coast, with some weather models showing the entire state of Texas below freezing on Monday and Tuesday.
The winds are also expected to be extremely cold, with the weather service warning of “dangerous” wind chill temperatures across much of the country.
Temperatures in the Iowa caucuses next Monday evening are expected to be frigid — perhaps near freezing across almost the entire state.
What is a “bomb cyclone”?
It’s a winter tornado, basically. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a bomb cyclone “occurs when a mid-latitude cyclone intensifies rapidly,” or atmospheric pressure drops rapidly. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.
The weather phenomenon is expected to dump up to 2 feet of snow in some areas of the Midwest while causing severe thunderstorms across parts of the South and Southeast — and potentially more tornadoes.
Will the Mid-Atlantic finally see some snow?
According to meteorologists, another storm system could bring heavy snow next week to parts of the East Coast that haven’t seen more than a dusting in years.
Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia have not recorded measurable snowfall of more than an inch in any storm since January 2022.
Meanwhile, this was a noticeably busy stretch for meteorologists across the country. As of Friday morning, all 50 states were under some type of watch, warning or advisory from the National Weather Service.