The United States is grappling with a severe Arctic storm that has left four dead, caused widespread power outages, and disrupted daily life from the Northwest to the Northeast. An estimated 95 million Americans are under weather advisories due to dangerously low wind chills, with some areas experiencing temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
In Oregon, the storm’s impact was deadly, with one man killed by a falling tree and others succumbing to suspected hypothermia and a fire. Glenn Prohaska, a resident of Lake Oswego, expressed his shock at the severity of the conditions, stating, “In the 40 years I’ve been here, this is the worst I’ve seen.”
Severe cold and frostbite warnings
The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that the cold is expected to extend as far south as northern Texas, with wind chill readings dropping to minus 70 degrees in parts of Montana and the Dakotas.The South Dakota Department of Public Safety issued a stark warning: “It takes a matter of minutes for frostbite to set in,” urging people to remain indoors amidst the frigid conditions.
“It takes a matter of minutes for frostbite to set in,” warned the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, urging people to stay indoors.
Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, cautioned about near-blizzard conditions in parts of the Northeast, with wind gusts up to 50 mph possible.
A former US President Donald Trump campaign flag waves in Ankeny, Iowa.
Widespread power outages in multiple states
Power outages affected tens of thousands in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In Nebraska, the Omaha Public Power District urged customers to conserve electricity to avoid outages.
In Oregon, over 120,000 homes and businesses lost power, primarily in the Portland metro area. Portland General Electric is bracing for more inclement weather while the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services is engaged in emergency repairs to prevent sewage releases. The largest sewage pump station in Portland is partially operational due to a frozen pipe.
Flights were severely affected, with significant cancellations and delays.
NFL game postponed due to blizzard conditions
In Buffalo, New York, blizzard conditions with winds reaching 30 mph and snowfall rates of 2 inches per hour led to the postponement of the Buffalo Bills-Pittsburgh Steelers NFL playoff game. New York Governor Kathy Hochul commented on the severity of the weather, saying, “Looks like a pretty good day to not have a football game.”
Air travel disruptions
Air travel was severely affected, with significant cancellations and delays at airports including Buffalo Niagara International, Chicago, Denver, and Seattle-Tacoma. Maine Governor Janet Mills urged residents to stay home due to historic flooding and road closures.
Visibility concerns in eastern states
Forecasters warned of rapid snowfall and wind in eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, and Delaware, potentially leading to “near whiteout conditions.”
Southern states brace for snow
The Arctic storm, having already dumped heavy snow in the Rockies, was expected to bring 4 to 6 inches of snow to parts of Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and west Tennessee.
Iowans battle the cold
In Des Moines, Iowa, Juan Villegas and his team shoveled snow in minus 15-degree weather. Villegas advised, “If you stay doing nothing, it’s when you really feel the cold.”
(With inputs from agencies)