Thousands of flights are canceled or delayed, schools and businesses close as winter storm moves across the US.
A major winter storm has brought heavy snow and strong winds to parts of the northern United States, where authorities have urged residents to stay indoors and warned that road travel will be nearly impossible.
The storm ripped through the upper Midwest on Wednesday, making its way across large areas of the western and northern US and placing an estimated 50 million people under winter weather advisories as the storm expands to include the eastern states.
“Moderate, major, and extreme winter weather impacts are expected from the West Coast to New England and travel in the Upper Midwest is not recommended due to blizzard conditions,” the National Weather Service (NWS) said via Twitter on Tuesday. .
In the western state of Wyoming, almost all highways were affected.
“Multi-day closures are likely on interstate and secondary highways throughout Wyoming,” the state Department of Transportation said in a Facebook post.
Schools in states including North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin were closed Wednesday in anticipation of the storm, and snow, rain and wind closed a large stretch of the interstate highway in the Southwest.
“Sometimes, it’s physically impossible to keep up with Mother Nature,” North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Wade Kadrmas told The Associated Press.
He warned those who venture out to dress appropriately. Often when motorists get stranded, “they don’t have a winter jacket. They may be wearing shorts and flip flops, just thinking that they are going to get from point A to point B and nothing is going to go wrong,” she said.
More than 2,000 flights were canceled or delayed in cities including Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis, and Frank Pereira, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Weather Prediction Center, told Reuters that icy roads would make travel “nearly impossible” in the upper midwest
California was also hit by high winds and snowfall, with more than 100,000 homes and businesses experiencing power outages, according to Poweroutage.us.
Here’s a look at the Winter Storm Severity Index (WSSI) for the next 3 days, through noon Friday. Moderate, major, and extreme winter weather impacts are expected from the West Coast to New England and travel in the Upper Midwest is not recommended due to blizzard conditions. pic.twitter.com/fcwxg5E7gQ
— National Weather Service (@NWS) February 21, 2023
“Folks, we are seeing a ton of high wind reports: trees down, roof damage, debris moving across roads, blowing sand reducing visibility, and power outages,” NWS Bay Area said on Twitter. “With widespread impacts, power outages can last more than a day. Get ready with supplies!”
A one-year-old boy was critically injured when a redwood tree crashed into a home in Boulder Creek, a community in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco, KTVU reported. Chief Mark Bingham of the local fire protection district said crews had to cut down the tree to free the victim.
A blizzard warning was issued for the mountains of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, beginning early Thursday through Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
“Almost everyone in CA will be able to see the snow from some vantage point later this week if they look in the right direction (i.e., toward the higher hills nearby),” said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. , in a post on Twitter. .
Meanwhile, the Southeast and mid-Atlantic were bracing for higher-than-normal temperatures, with some areas expecting temperatures 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (16.5 to 22 degrees Celsius) warmer than usual.