Latest forecasts as freezing temperatures sweep the United States

Latest forecasts as freezing temperatures sweep the United States

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nearly two dozen abandoned cars were lined up at the steep, icy entrance to an apartment complex here as drivers struggled with a slice of the wall due to the bitterly cold temperatures, ice and snow falling over a wide swath of the country Tuesday.

The massive mass of Arctic air falling from Canada has pushed temperatures below freezing in three-quarters of the country, and 68 million Americans are under a winter weather warning on Tuesday. Schools were closed, travel warnings were everywhere, and the country’s airlines were struggling to maintain schedules for the fourth day in a row.

Nine deaths have been linked to the weather, including four in Oregon alone.

“Once again, much of the weather news is dominated by winter weather headlines,” said Jacob Asherman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Nashville averaged 4.7 inches of snowfall annually from 1991 to 2020. But this storm dropped 8 inches on the National Weather Service office here. Elijah Clarke carried his backpack as he left his Honda Civic in the middle of the road. He said he drove to a friend’s house to deliver the guitar.

“We’re stuck,” he told The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network. “I came back hoping I could get up the hill — front-wheel drive and all that — and it didn’t work out. It didn’t work out at all.”

A similar narrative is spreading across most parts of the country. Ascherman pointed to areas of winter precipitation along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and said the frigid Arctic air is “trapped” over the central and southern United States.

150 meters below Weather Alerts: “Dangerous cold” puts the United States in its clutches

Developments:

∎ More than 4,000 flights were delayed or canceled as of 9 a.m. ET. More than 36,000 such disruptions were reported from Saturday to Monday, a travel-heavy weekend due to the Martin Luther King holiday.

∎ Classes were canceled for millions of students from Portland to Chicago to Denver to Dallas to Washington, D.C., and federal offices in and around the nation’s capital were closed Tuesday.

After producing widespread snow, sleet and freezing rain over the Far South on Monday, the fast-moving system was spreading moderate to heavy snowfall in the mid-Atlantic on Tuesday morning.

The Pacific Northwest faced “significant” freezing rain as well. Parts of the Cascades in the northern Rockies could see 15 to 28 inches of snow, Asherman said. Another day of record cold is expected across much of the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains and Midwest, he added. Wind chills below 30 degrees below zero could extend as far south as the Mississippi Valley, Asherman said.

A reprieve is expected Wednesday, but another wave of Arctic air is expected to sweep across the Plains and Deep South by Thursday or Friday.

New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., fell enough snow to end a nearly two-year snow drought. Philadelphia saw more than an inch for the first time in 715 days. Washington’s Reagan National Airport, which saw nearly 4 inches, snapped its 728-day streak of 1 inch, and New York’s Central Park pulled in more than 1 inch of snow for the first time in 701 days.

“The line is over!” The New York City Weather Service announced on social media.

Contributing: Evan Mellins and Angel Latham, Nashville Tennessee

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