US winter storm: ‘Historic’ weather event hits US as temperatures plunge as low as -45C

Credit: Sky News [click on image to enlarge, temps. in Fahrenheit]

A tough lead-up to Christmas for the US and Canada thanks to this Arctic blast, as the media are calling it. Colourful claims about the ‘rapidly warming Arctic’ may have been overdone.
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Tens of millions of Americans endured bone-chilling temperatures, blizzard conditions, power outages and cancelled Christmas plans as an extreme winter storm gripped much of the country, reports Sky News.

More than 200 million people – about 60% of the US population – were under some form of winter weather advisory or warning on Friday, the National Weather Service said, calling it a “historic winter storm”.

Temperatures across central states have plunged, with the mercury dipping to -50F (-45.6C) in Montana.

Places like Des Moines, Iowa, will feel like -37F (-38C) making it possible to suffer frostbite in less than five minutes, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 1.4 million homes and businesses were without power on Friday morning and holiday travel plans were upended as more than 3,100 flights in and out of US airports were cancelled on the day before Christmas Eve.

Fatalities have already begun to be reported with three deaths so far recorded on roads in Kentucky according to the state’s Governor.

The storm has now intensified into a bomb cyclone according to the National Weather Service, which says the atmospheric pressure of the storm has dropped rapidly enough over the past 24 hours to classify the system that way.

The huge storm stretched from border to border. In Canada, British Columbia reached a low of -62.7F (-52.6C). And in Mexico, migrants waited near the US border in unusually cold temperatures for a court decision on lifting asylum restrictions.

Florida residents have been warned to look out for iguanas falling from trees as sub-zero temperatures can immobilise the cold-blooded creatures, causing them to lose their grip and fall to the ground.

More than 181 million people are under wind chill alerts and 11 million are affected by blizzard warnings. Forecasters said temperatures in some areas have dropped more than 30 degrees in a matter of minutes.

By the time the weather system has moved through, an estimated 192 million people across 46 states will have experienced wind chills below zero.

Hundreds of drivers stranded

In South Dakota, more than 100 drivers became stranded when the Arctic blast hit the state with sub-zero temperatures.

As authorities worked to rescue those stranded, the local sheriff’s office told drivers to stay in their vehicles and call 911.

Full report here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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December 24, 2022 at 03:24AM

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