A giant winter storm moving across the United States is bringing extreme weather, with dangerous blizzard conditions across the Great Plains, freezing weather across the upper Midwest and severe storms along the Gulf Coast on Tuesday.
There are more than 10 million people in 17 states under winter weather alert as the massive storm continues to head east.
The coast-to-coast storm – which hit the West over the weekend – is expected to strengthen as it tracks east on Tuesday and stall across the Central Plains until Thursday, hampering travel amid blowing snow and freezing rain.
Meanwhile, the southern end of the storm is expected to bring late season tornadoes as well as strong thunderstorms.
Here’s what different regions can expect in the coming days:
- Parts of the Great Plains could experience severe thunderstorms, heavy downpours and flash flooding.
- With snow expected to fall at rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour amid powerful 40 mph winds, blizzard conditions are expected for parts of the central and northern plains Tuesday and Wednesday.
- The Storm Prediction Center predicts a risk of tornadoes, large hail and damaging straight-line winds from eastern Texas to northern Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.
- A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Texas and Oklahoma until 4 a.m. A few tornadoes are possible, as well as ping-pong sized hail and wind gusts up to 75 mph.
- The greatest threat of flash flooding will come from the lower Mississippi Valley to the central Gulf Coast, Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachia Tuesday through Wednesday.
- Freezing rain and ice pellets will be possible in the upper Midwest through Wednesday.
The storm, which first hit the western United States with much-needed snow and rain, brought winter storm warnings stretching from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.
In Denver, up to 5 inches of snow is expected and wind gusts of 50 mph are possible.
Blizzard warnings extend just west of Denver in the Dakotas, where life-threatening conditions are expected.
Some areas within blizzard warnings could receive up to 20 inches of snow, with winds strong enough to knock down tree limbs and cause power outages.
According to Brandon Wills, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, Wyoming, blizzard conditions will “intensify” overnight across the upper Midwest and Central Plains as residents brace for “an extended period of snowfall.” “.
“We’re not expecting a quick flurry of snow here,” Wills said in a Monday night update. The snow “is going to pile up the highest in the northern Nebraska panhandle – and it’s going to blow like crazy because of the strong winds that we’re going to have as well,” he said.
Up to 16 inches of snow and 60 mph wind gusts are possible in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
The National Weather Service office in Rapid City, South Dakota, said explore the region will be almost impossible on Tuesday and Wednesday, and maybe until Thursday.
South Dakota’s highways could become impassable amid blizzard conditions, leading to road closures across the state, the South Dakota Department of Transportation warned Monday.
Ice accumulation is possible in southwestern Minnesota and western Iowa, where up to one-tenth of an inch of ice could develop.
In Minnesota, the National Weather Service has issued various winter weather alerts, including a winter storm warning, an ice storm warning, and a winter weather advisory. The Minnesota Department of Transportation said in a Tweeter On Monday, “harsh winter conditions could impact travel across the state all week.”
In Anchorage, Alaska, an “unprecedented amount of snowfall” caused schools to close for four days and the University of Alaska in Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University to close on Monday.
“The snowstorms that hit Anchorage last week are historic in nature, bringing between 30 and 45 inches of snowfall to our city,” Hans Rodvik, spokesman for the Anchorage Mayor’s office, said in a statement to CNN Monday.
Meanwhile, the southern end of the storm threatens to bring tornadoes.
A tornado watch is in effect for parts of Oklahoma and Texas until 4 a.m. Tuesday. The main threats are tornadoes, hail and wind gusts up to 75 mph.
An increased risk of severe weather, Level 3 out of 5, was issued Tuesday for East Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley, with the main threats being powerful tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail. Shreveport, Alexandria and Monroe, Louisiana are all part of the endangered area.
There is also a slight risk, level 2 out of 5, the storm could bring tornadoes, high winds and large hail to Dallas, Fort Worth and New Orleans. Isolated tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds are possible in Houston, Memphis and Little Rock.
In total, more than 25 million people could experience extreme weather conditions.
Tuesday also brings a risk of flash flooding due to excessive rainfall “from extreme eastern Texas into the lower Mississippi Valley,” the Weather Prediction Center warns. Up to 4 inches of rain could fall.
On Wednesday, the threat of severe weather is largely concentrated on the Gulf Coast.
The main threats are expected to be possible strong tornadoes, damaging winds and hail in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Mobile, Alabama. There is also a slight risk of excessive precipitation, “from the central Gulf Coast to the southern Appalachians,” warns the Storm Prediction Center.
An additional 2 to 4 inches of rain could fall over parts of Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and North Carolina.
These areas need moisture and have seen great relief from dry conditions over the past week. Tennessee, for example, went from 96% of the state under drought to 46% this week.