Blizzard Warning: 70 Million Under Winter Weather Alerts as Storm Snarls Travel and Threatens Power Outages

A winter storm, characterized by severe weather conditions including heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures, and dangerous winds, is wreaking havoc across the United States. More than 70 million people are under winter weather alerts spanning from California to New York. ‘Life-threatening’ blizzard conditions are significantly impacting the majority of Iowa, with wind gusts of over 40 mph and 6 to 10 inches of snowfall. Des Moines, the state’s capital, experienced its snowiest week since 1942.

Wintry conditions have led to a surge in motorist assist calls and crashes in Iowa, prompting the State Patrol and Des Moines Police to urge travelers to stay off the roads due to dangerous whiteout conditions and slick roads. Blowing snow has severely limited visibility, and wind chills as low as 10 to 20 degrees below zero can cause frostbite within 30 minutes. The National Weather Service has warned of potentially life-threatening blizzard conditions with strengthening winds.

Widespread power outages have affected over 250,000 homes and businesses across several states, including Illinois, where more than 85,000 customers experienced outages due to intense winds. Additionally, parts of the East Coast, particularly areas still recovering from previous storms, are under flood watches as heavy rain continues to pound the region.

The bitter cold associated with this winter storm has also shattered temperature records, with over 240 daily cold temperature records expected to be tied or broken across the U.S. Parts of Montana may see wind chills as low as -70 degrees, while Memphis, Tennessee, could experience a high temperature of only 17 degrees. More than 55 million people are expected to endure temperatures below zero over the next week.

The storm has caused significant disruptions to air travel, with over 2,000 flights canceled nationwide, mainly in Chicago, which has experienced strong winds and extreme snowfall. The storm is still not over in some areas, including cities like Chicago, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Portland, where winter storm warnings and advisories remain in effect.

In the South, more than 50 million people are at risk of fierce winds, hail, and tornadoes. Louisiana has declared a state of emergency, and Arkansas is also under a state of emergency due to the bitter cold that is expected to hit the region.

Overall, this winter storm is causing widespread havoc and dangerous conditions across the country, from intense snowfall and freezing temperatures to powerful winds and flooding. The impact is far-reaching, affecting millions of people and disrupting daily life, travel, and infrastructure.