Science

‘Major Winter Storm’ Warnings Issued From California To Minnesota — Here’s Which Regions Will Get Hit Hardest

Topline

One of the winter’s harshest cold fronts is forecast to move into the central U.S. this week, spawning winter storms impacting parts of the Plains and Great Lakes regions until Tuesday and driving temperatures as much as 30 degrees below average across the northern U.S., the National Weather Service announced Monday.

Key Facts

The cold front is forecast to enter the Plains and Upper Midwest regions Monday, bringing temperatures to possibly record-breaking lows of 20 to 40 below average.

As the cold front moves southward, moisture will pool ahead of its boundary, creating showers and some severe thunderstorms across some parts of the Southern Plains and Mississippi Valley and Tennessee Valley regions, with a risk of hail and tornadoes, the NWS announced.

The NWS Monday issued blizzard warnings for parts of Alaska, Minnesota and North Dakota, predicting slippery road conditions, low visibility due to blowing snow and wind chills as low as 40 below zero, which can cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.

Winter storm warnings were issued Monday for parts of Alaska, California, Colorado, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming, with heavy snow expected to impede travel.

The NWS Monday issued winter weather advisories for parts of Alaska, California, Colorado, the Dakotas, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming, forecasting slippery road conditions that could make travel hazardous.

Flood warnings were issued Monday for parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, with water washing over some roads, entering some river cabins and pushing many agricultural levees to their limits, the NWS said.

Key Background

Climate change has warmed the Arctic, leading to more extreme winter weather across some parts of the U.S. according to a study published September 1 by Science. The current winter has already been an unusually harsh one, with winter storms shutting down interstate highways, leaving thousands in Oregon and Washington without power and inflicting other infrastructure disruptions across the U.S. On February 17, severe snowstorms led to a 100-vehicle pileup on Interstate 39 in Illinois, one of the states expected to be impacted by this week’s cold front.

What To Watch For

Weather across the continental U.S. is expected to moderate this weekend, though it will continue to be unseasonably cold in some areas, the NWS said.

Contra

Temperatures are forecast to rise 10 to 25 degrees above average in parts of the Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley this week, the NWS said. Critical fire weather alerts were issued Monday for a roughly 77,000-square-mile area reaching into New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Further Reading

“24 States Under Extreme Weather Alerts: Weather Fueled By Climate Change Disrupts Life Across The U.S.” (Forbes)

“Floods Will Cost U.S. Businesses $49 Billion Next Year, Study Says” (Forbes)




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