Arctic blast brings record cold and wind chill to US that can cause frostbite in minutes

(CNN) — A brutal Arctic blast is bringing record low temperatures and life-threatening cold to a large part of the United States as snow and freezing rain spread from the country’s south to the northeast. This is what you need to know.

-Record streaks without end of ice: New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. So much snow fell in that the wait of almost two years for 1 inch of snow ended. All cities recorded at least 25 mm of snowfall in 24 hours, which had not happened in more than 700 days at all places. Winds were at record highs in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia and Dulles International Airport in the DC area.
– Record the minimum temperature: Nearly 80% of the United States will experience temperatures below zero this week. Several daily cold records have already been broken, including in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas — and Maine could break them this Tuesday across the central and southern United States. Temperatures in Memphis, Dallas and Nashville are expected to remain below zero for at least 72 consecutive hours.

– Chills can occur within a few minutes: More than 120 million people are under wind chill alerts from Canada to the Mexican border. The Rocky Mountains, Great Plains and much of the Midwest will see life-threatening below-zero wind chills Tuesday, while the Central Plains and central Mississippi Valley will see wind chills below -30 degrees Celsius. The National Weather Service warned, “These low temperatures can cause frostbite on exposed skin within minutes and hypothermia shortly thereafter.”

– Deaths in five states: Since January 12, at least five deaths have been reported in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee as a series of winter storms have lashed the United States with dangerous winds, snow and ice. An Arkansas man was killed and another was injured when their pickup truck went off a snowy White County road and hit a tree, according to state police.

– Snowy roads make travel dangerous: As the snow reaches New York and New England and moves north this Tuesday, the weather service is warning travelers to plan for slippery roads and dangerous travel conditions that could be very difficult. The south already saw icy road conditions on Monday, with the Tennessee Department of Transportation responding to hundreds of highway incidents and warning that “conditions will remain hazardous for at least the next 24 hours.”

– Schools are closed: Districts in more than half a dozen states, including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and West Virginia, have declared closures due to the extremely low temperatures.

Snowfall and freezing rain in the north-east of the country

As dangerously cold temperatures continue across much of the US – more than 80 million people are under a winter weather advisory across more than 2,500 kilometers from the Texas-Louisiana border to the Maine-Canada border – snow and freezing rain across the South. Will spread into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Tuesday.

On the Great Lakes coast, heavy lake-effect snowfall is expected to cause major headaches for travelers. Lake effect snow occurs when cold air moves over open water, causing the Great Lakes to no longer freeze over, forming narrow bands that produce 2 to 3 feet or more of snow per hour.

Buffalo, New York, is under a winter storm watch through Thursday night, with 8 to 18 inches of heavy lake-effect snowfall and possible winds of up to 40 mph. Watertown remained under a winter storm watch as of Friday morning, potentially seeing heavy lake-effect snowfall of between 2 and 3 feet.

The National Weather Service office in Buffalo warned, “Travel may be very difficult or impossible. Visibility may be significantly reduced in areas with blizzard conditions.” “Hazardous conditions could impact this Wednesday morning and evening.”

The area just received more than three feet of snowfall compared to the previous round of very heavy lake effect snowfall.

New York City is expected to get 5 to 10 centimeters of snow by Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service, after a single day in more than 700 days that hasn’t seen a centimeter of snowfall.

At least 10 to 15 centimeters of snowfall is expected in Washington this Tuesday. The city received more than an inch of snowfall on Monday, ending the streak of no snowfall in the city for the last 673 days.

3 million people are at risk from the storm in the Pacific region

As the Northeast continues to experience heavy snowfall, another storm will move toward the Pacific Northwest between Tuesday and Wednesday. The system will bring rain to parts of the Pacific Northwest to California and snow to higher elevations.

Tuesday’s storm prompted the National Weather Service to issue an ice storm warning for more than 3 million people in the Pacific Northwest, including Portland. A blizzard warning is in effect from Tuesday 4 PM to Wednesday 10 AM Pacific Time.

The area could see up to about 1.5 centimeters of snow accumulation, but locally up to 2.5 centimeters near the Columbia River Gorge and throughout eastern Skamania County. In addition to snow, strong winds of up to 80 km/ha can occur along the Columbia River Gorge. There is also a possibility of snowfall between 7 to 15 cm.

Winter storm warnings extend into the Cascades and northern Rockies. Warnings in the Cascades indicate between 12 and 36 inches of snow will fall between 4 pm Pacific time Tuesday and 1 pm Thursday. There is a warning for up to 24 inches of snowfall at higher elevations between 10 pm Tuesday and 10 am Thursday in Northeast Washington, Northern Idaho and Northwest Montana.

Below zero wind chill and risk of frostbite

Cold air temperatures, that is, the cold you feel when outside due to heat loss from exposed skin, have the potential to reach dangerous levels, causing frostbite and hypothermia.

By Tuesday, dangerous minimum temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius are expected in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa and as low as minus 31 degrees Celsius in Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle. “Dangerously cold wind can cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” the weather service warned.

According to the weather service, the body parts most susceptible to frostbite are fingers and toes, earlobes and the tip of the nose. Symptoms include loss of sensation in the limb and a white or pale appearance.

The National Weather Service said, “Avoid outdoor activities if possible. If you must go outside, wear appropriate clothing, dress in layers and cover exposed skin. Keep pets indoors.” “If you must travel, carry a survival kit to protect you from the cold.”

Although temperatures are expected to drop by midweek, a new wave of cold air will hit the northern Plains and Midwest and Deep South by week’s end, according to the weather service.

—CNN meteorologist Sarah Tonks and CNN’s Zenebou Silla, Sarah Dewberry, Amy Simonson and Andy Babineau contributed to this report.

(tag to translate)Winter Storm

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