More Than 950,000 Households Without Power After Winter Storm

A powerful winter storm is sweeping across the United States this week, pummeling areas from Southern California to the Northeast with bitter cold and snowstorms. As of Thursday morning, around 990,000 households across the country were without power, and more than 1,700 flights have been canceled.

On Wednesday, the storm system unleashed powerful winds, heavy snow, freezing rain and frigid temperatures onto much of the Midwest, damaging powerlines and leaving hundreds of thousands in the dark.

The National Weather Service in Los Angeles issued a winter storm warning for the mountains of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties until early Friday. A rare blizzard warning is in effect for the same areas from Friday through Saturday, cautioning people of wind gusts of up to 80 mph, near zero visibility and heavy snow.

It has been decades since the Los Angeles National Weather Service office issued a blizzard warning, with the last one being issued in 1989. Forecasters predict up to 7 feet of snow in areas more than 6,000 feet above sea level and 1-4 inches in elevations less than 2,500 feet. Areas along the coast and valleys could see a few inches of rain.

The Los Angeles Weather Service tweeted that the growing storm was “cold and dangerous” earlier this week.

“Now is the time to prepare for a COLD AND DANGEROUS winter storm expected for much of the week. Several FEET of snow is expected in the mountains with a few inches possible as low as 1000 feet. Gusty and potentially damaging winds are also expected.”

As of Thursday morning, the forecast remains the same.

“We are still on track for our DANGEROUS winter storm. Expect blizzard conditions in the mountains with FEET of snowfall. A few inches of rain are expected in lower elevations. Be weather ready!”

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Andrew Rorke, a senior forecaster for the Los Angeles National Weather Service, said the storm would be “a snowmaker of the likes we have not seen for many years.”

David Sweet, a meteorologist at National Weather Service’s Oxnard office, said that between late Thursday and early Saturday, the area was “looking at a storm delivering more snow than any other storm in recent decades.” The “cold core” of the storm will center in on Los Angeles on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a wild and woolly kind of day — the lightning, the thunder, the hail, the graupel. No one is going to be spared.”

More than 41,000 people were without power on Thursday morning across the state. The powerful winds have already downed trees and damaged roofs.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services advised Californians on how to prepare for the growing storm. Instructions include preparing a go-bag containing important documents, cash, medications, food, water, clothing and pet supplies. The office also advised people not to use a gas stove or oven to heat their homes.

On Wednesday, meteorologists in the Midwest reported that heavy snow and strong winds originating in the Northern Rockies were making their way east across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Blizzard warnings were in place for people living near the Twin Cities and across large portions of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Hundreds of schools canceled classes on Thursday in Minneapolis. In Michigan, Grand Rapid Public Schools canceled class for the second day.

By Thursday morning, 900,000 households were without power across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, with 772,000 of those outages being in Michigan.

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The National Weather Service Twin Cities tweeted that the storm was starting to wind down, with most nearby areas receiving about a foot of snow.

“Thankfully, this storm didn’t produce the amounts it had the potential to, but it still produced a lot, and combined with the windy conditions it is simply not safe to travel right now. Many roads remain completely snow-covered and in some cases closed. Stay safe out there!”

Parts of the Northeast also experienced snowstorms and flat ice accumulation this week. A winter watch is in effect for parts of Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.

Snow totaling up to a foot is likely in areas of high elevation like the Adirondacks and the Green and White Mountains. Lower elevation areas, like upstate New York and central New England, will receive up to 4 inches.

Governor Kathy Hochul issued a statement cautioning, “New Yorkers in impacted regions should take action now to prepare for the incoming snow and ice, as power outages and hazardous travel are a concern this week.”

As of Thursday morning, 22,000 households across New York do not have power.


Record Low Temperatures And Snowstorms Reported Across The U.S.

This Tuesday, November 12th, America is falling victim to one of the biggest nation-wide Arctic blasts we’ve seen in years. According to USA Today over 200 million Americans all across the country are struggling to face the freezing forecast and endure the giant mass of Arctic air moving across the states. It’s been reported that thousands of flights were canceled leaving many stranded, and other areas have seen more than a foot of snow in their neighborhoods already! It’s surely looking like it’s going to be a white Christmas if winter continues at this intense rate.

The Arctic Air mass began in the West and freezing cold temperatures have been reported from the Canadian border all the way down to the Southernmost tip of Texas, as the mass continues to move and hit the East Coast later Tuesday evening. Chicago saw the beginning of the blast when they woke up this morning to temperatures in the single digits and half a foot of snow. The National Weather Service first reported in Chicago and warned citizens that the combination of the freezing temperature and intense wind patterns will be causing wind chills to hit below zero, and to stay indoors as much as they can. 

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Detroit also made headlines in the morning with their record breaking cold temperatures for this time of year, and for a record 10 inches of snow blanketing the city. These extreme conditions have caused a massive spike in highway accidents to occur, and is delaying all flights a minimum of three hours, (USA Today). Other parts of the country that have seen record breaking winter conditions with this blast include Michigan, which some parts of reported over thirty inches of snow! Parts of Maine saw over two feet and Wisconsin has been cruising at a steady nine degrees for the past 12 days, and has beat its own record for amount of snow during this time of year three consecutive days in a row (USA). Overall, it’s looking like one of the coldest harshest winters the country has seen in awhile, is just beginning. 

These parts of America, however, are used to seeing pretty harsh winter conditions early in the season every year. What’s surprising is the areas of the South that are seeing the same type of conditions occurring. Areas of Texas just 60 miles from the Mexican border saw freezing temperatures and a few inches of snow this morning. 

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“Wednesday will be colder for many from the Great Lakes to the Northeast and down all the way into Florida. You are talking single digits in Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit. Atlanta will see the mid-20s. Low 20s in Birmingham, some other parts of Alabama. We will be challenging records everywhere. More snow and cold are on the way. More than 200 million people will be freezing between Tuesday through Thursday. The snow isn’t done yet, either. The cold will continue to shift south and east into Wednesday, finally encompassing more than half of the country,”  AccuWeather meteorologist Tyler Roys said to USA Today.

Accuweather predicts more than 300 daily temperature records can be broken by this Thursday, meaning for this time of the year, it will be the coldest it’s ever been in recorded history for parts of the country. The extreme weather is related to the polar vortex, that many are affected by every winter. The polar vortex is a large mass of freezing cold air that sits high in our atmosphere and typically spins over the northernmost part of the planet (The North Pole). However, in some specific cases the vortex drifts south and when it makes that journey it lowers in the atmosphere, distributing cold air and thus harsh winter conditions across the country. 

Snow Storms

Historic September Snow Storms Slam the West

It’s been one week since one of the hottest summers the planet has ever seen ended. What better way to celebrate the end of one extremely hot season than with a historically early snowstorm hitting the West? California, Oregon, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah we’re all hit with record breaking low temperatures, extreme winds, heavy snowfall, and overall intense blizzard conditions. So much so that parts of Montana have already given their kids their first snow day of the school year less than a month after school came back into session. 

“Many daily record low maximum temperature records are possible through Tuesday, especially across the Northern Great Basin, Rockies, and Northern California, where we’re already seeing temperatures hit 30 degrees lower than their normal average for this time of year” according to the National Weather Service

The extreme weather began on Saturday the 28th and continued into Monday the 30th. Power Lines and large trees were knocked down all over the west states, closing multiple main roads and delaying many individual’s Monday morning commutes, a delay they weren’t expecting for at least another month. The National Weather Service reported that while September snowfall is not that uncommon for many of these areas, the massive volume of snow is, especially in areas with lower elevations and altitudes. For example, the town of Great Falls, Montana averages 1-2 inches of snow every September and by this past Sunday they reached 19 inches, breaking the town record that was held for nearly 70 years!

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Montana in general saw the worst of the early storms. The town of Browning, Montana saw the worst of it country wide, some areas receiving up to 48 inches, prompting all school districts to shut down for the day. Dupuyer, 40 miles southeast of Browning, saw 37 inches of snow. Dan Pydynowski, a senior meteorologist for Accuweather, in an interview with USA Today, said that “less populated areas all throughout Montana doubtlessly were slammed with more than 4 feet of snow, but it just won’t ever be officially measured.” 

Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock declared an official winter storm emergency for the state through until Tuesday, as the state along with Northern California, Nevada, and Colorado, is still expected to reach record breaking low temperatures through Monday night and into Tuesday morning. Browning School Districts are already debating cancelling classes for Tuesday the 1st because of how severe the weather continues to be, some areas in the town/state as a whole have been left without power and cell service due to downed power lines across the state.  

According to information from the National Weather Service also given to USA Today, “more than a foot of snow fell in parts of northeastern Washington. Spokane, Washington got much less, but it was the city’s first recorded September snowfall since 1926! Temperatures are forecast to dip below freezing by Monday Night, into Tuesday morning. This is prompting a huge expansion of the city’s homeless shelter capacity. In Oregon we reported wind damage from gusts up to 55 miles per hour in Portland, where hail was also reported. The Cascade Mountains also got up to 10 inches of snowfall.”

Experts are urging families to stay indoors and not use their vehicles unless the area they’re in hasn’t been hit that severely, as the conditions are expected to continue for the next 24 hours.