US Winter Storms Cause Chaos Across the country, Flight Cancellations, Power Outages, and Record Highs Broken. winter storm has hit various parts of the US, closing schools, offices and even shutting down the Minnesota Legislature. Weather has contributed to more than 1,600 US flight cancellations, and more than 5,000 flights were delayed across the country.
From Arizona to Wyoming, the storm closed interstate highways, trapping drivers in cars and creating a “near-impossible situation” for rescuers, according to Sgt. Jeremy Beck of the Wyoming Highway Patrol. The Wyoming Transportation Department posted on social media that roads across much of the southern part of the state were impassable.
Powerful winds in California toppled trees and power lines, leaving more than 65,000 customers in the state without electricity, according to PowerOutage.us. A 1-year-old child was critically injured when a redwood crashed onto a home in Boulder Creek, a community in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the mountains of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The warning is effective from 4 a.m. Thursday to 4 p.m. Saturday, marking the first time since 1989 that the region has been issued a blizzard warning.
The wintry mix also hit some cities in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Southeast, breaking long-standing record highs. In Lexington, Kentucky, the high reached 76 F (24 C), shattering the Feb. 22 mark of 70 F (21 C) set 101 years ago.
In the northern US, the snowfall could be significant. According to the National Weather Service, more than 18 inches (46 centimeters) may pile up in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The weather service also warned of wind gusts reaching 50 mph (80 kph) in western and central Minnesota, resulting in “significant blowing and drifting snow with whiteout conditions in open areas.”
Temperatures could plunge as low as minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 29 degrees Celsius) Thursday and to minus 25 F (minus 32 C) Friday in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wind chills may fall to minus 50 F (minus 46 C).
As the storm moves towards the East Coast later this week, forecasters are warning of dangerous amounts of ice. According to DTE Electric, a half-inch of ice could cause hundreds of thousands of outages. Nearly 1,500 line workers are ready to be deployed if the ice causes outages.
With the severity of the storm, more than 90 churches in western Michigan canceled Ash Wednesday services. The storm caused more than 192,000 customers in Michigan and nearly 89,000 in Illinois to be without electricity on Wednesday evening.
The winter storm shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon, and people in affected areas are urged to stay safe and stay indoors whenever possible.