Extreme “Grinch” Winter Storm Blasts Country

By Andrew Freedman.

Bomb Cyclone and Nationwide Arctic Blast put 300 Million Under Alerts

An extraordinary stretch of extreme winter weather is blasting the Lower 48 as a powerful Arctic cold front sweeps south out of Canada, unleashing howling winds and sparking a bomb cyclone forming in the Midwest.

The big picture: The scope of the extreme weather stretches from coast to coast, with the National Weather Service’s map of warnings and watches resembling an apocalyptic coloring book.

  • The front and storm system will continue to send temperatures plunging everywhere except the Southwest, an extraordinary reach that will wreak havoc on holiday travel plans through this weekend.

Why it matters: The Arctic air, strong winds and an associated bomb cyclone could be deadly to anyone caught outside — and it’s causing travel chaos on the roads and in the air during the holiday rush.

Threat level: As of Thursday at midday, about 300 million Americans were under winter weather warnings and advisories for heavy snow, freezing rain or frigid temperatures, stretching from the Pacific Northwest across the Plains and all the way South to the Gulf Coast.

  • “Record-breaking cold and life-threatening wind chills” are expected to reach the East Coast by Friday, the National Weather Service said, warning of severe temperature drops around in some areas of 50 degrees or more.
  • Leaders from FEMA and the National Weather Service briefed President Biden on the winter storm. “I encourage everyone, everyone to please heed the local warnings,” Biden told reporters. “This is not like a snow day when you were a kid. This is serious stuff.”

State of play: States seeing the coldest weather Thursday morning include Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota, while freezing rain was expected in Seattle Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon, the NWS said.

  • The governors of Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Wyoming declared states of emergency in response to threats from the severe weather system.
  • More than 1,700 flights around the U.S. have been canceled Thursday, with nearly 3,000 facing delays. These numbers are expected to increase.
  • Roads closed across Colorado on Wednesday night, from the town of Ault to the border with Wyoming, as Buckley Air Force Base, some 20 miles east of Denver, reported temperatures plummeting 46°F to 7°F in an hour.
  • In Minnesota, the State Patrol said it responded to 272 crashes from 6am-9:30pm local time Wednesday, with several injuries but no fatalities reported as snow began to fall in the state.

Between the lines: This storm is already becoming a massive wind producer, with winds up to 45 mph expected as far as 1,000 miles away from the storm center.

  • People may lose power between Thursday and Saturday amid the cold, due to downed trees and power lines, particularly in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast, where the winds look to be the strongest.

 Read the Full Article at Axios.com