On 65 million people in 29 states from California to Maine are under winter weather advisories today. TO powerful storm from coast to coast it is moving across the United States and will not end until Friday. Severe icing, sleet and extreme cold are likely to impact travel and cause power outages.
The storm will move eastward through a zone of contrasting temperatures, with record-defying warm air to the south and cold air associated with the polar vortex to the north.
[Related: 10 winter survival tips everyone should know.]
In the west, strong winds downed power lines and knocked out electricity for more than 140,000 homes and businesses in Northern California. The state is still bracing for several feet of snow in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Los Angeles. The deluge follows nearly two months of deadly flooding from multiple atmospheric rivers that dump rain on the dry state.
Snow storm conditions closing portions of Interstate 80 in Wyoming on Tuesday, with about 115 miles of Interstate 25 closed also.
The Upper Midwest is expected to see the most snow from the storm. The Twin Cities area of Minnesota is expected to collect at least 15 inches of snow by Thursday and possibly more than two feet in the next two daysWhat should breaking previous February record for snowfall from a single storm (13.8 inches). The National Weather Service (NWS) called the three-day storm “historic” and forecast that it will “bring a widespread accumulation of snow, with wind and drifting snow mainly Wednesday through Thursday.” Snow combined with gusty winds will make travel dangerous and Governor Tim Walz led the state department of transportation, national guard and state patrol to be prepared for severe impacts.
Icing conditions are expected to begin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Detroit, Michiganand of northern Illinois to the southern level of New York and into New England Wednesday
Snow, ice, and rain are expected to be more widespread in the Northeast, and icing is expected to occur more on elevated surfaces in central Pennsylvania, the lower Hudson Valley in New York, and the central parts of New England. Major metropolitan areas like NY other Philadelphia should see rain with some ice mixing in later, and it’s all rain for Washington DC and Baltimore.
[Related: Persisting winter storm conditions bring snow, tornadoes, and thunder to Eastern US.]
Northern parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine should see the heaviest snowfall of any part of the country in the range of 12 to 18 inches. Coastal Maine and upstate New York could also see six to 12 inches of snow.
On the warmer side of the temperature line, Strong thunderstorms, damaging winds, and rain expected in parts of Oklahoma, western Arkansas, Missouri and western Illinois throughout Wednesday.
Before a winter storm, the American Red Cross recommends monitoring local weather reports, having emergency supplies including extra blankets and hot fluids, and avoiding travel until the worst weather has passed.