A triple threat of winter storms was roaring toward the nation’s midsection Sunday, threatening travel headaches through the week as the Upper Midwest hunkered down in biting cold and wind chills that could reach minus-50 degrees.
At least three storms will be responsible for the threat of ice and snow from Sunday through Thursday, AccuWeather reported. The storms will be fueled by moisture coming off the Gulf of Mexico and colder air sweeping south. In some areas, the precipitation will be almost constant for days, AccuWeather said.
“Cold air will plunge far enough south to set up a weather battle zone much of the week,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
One major concern is for a glaze of ice that could cause dangerous travel conditions from eastern Oklahoma into northwestern Arkansas and southern Missouri, he said.
In some places, it’s just ridiculously cold. The National Weather Service office in Pocatello, Idaho, warned of highs Sunday struggling to climb above -10°F in some areas.
“Tonight, everyone will see single and double digits below zero,” the office tweeted. “Coldest temperatures will fall into the -30s with wind chills down to -50°F.”
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►In large parts of the region encompassing the Great Plains, Upper Midwest and the Intermountain West, temperatures Sunday and Monday are expected to be 20-40 degrees below average, the National Weather Service said.
►Snow could reach as far east as New York state Sunday and Monday.
►In Arkansas, up to 16 inches of snow was reported in the Ozarks in recent days.
►A flood watch has been extended through Monday afternoon in Hawaii’s Big Island, Oahu and all Maui County islands, said the state’s Emergency Management Agency, adding that “the risk of flooding, downpours, landslides, wind-toppled trees and general sloppy mess continues!”
Icy travel, power outages possible in Southern Plains, Ohio Valley
Portions of the Southern Plains and Ohio Valley will see icy weather throughout the week, according to AccuWeather.
“A wave of cold air pushing southward across the center of the country will make wintry precipitation possible from Texas to Kentucky,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bill Deger.
Wintry conditions are most likely to occur in central Texas, moving northeast toward Oklahoma to the mid-Mississippi and Tennessee valleys, AccuWeather said. The first storm already brought rain to Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The storm will move southeast, bringing colder air on Monday and freezing drizzle is possible from southern Missouri to southern Ohio, according to AccuWeather.
Sleet and freezing rain are predicted for across major cities in Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. AccuWeather said wintry conditions are expected to cause a glaze of ice on elevated surfaces, such as vehicles, trees and powerlines.
Tree damage and power outages are possible if significant icing occurs, AccuWeather warned.
Bitter cold descends on parts of Midwest
A cold front cutting across the Plains and Midwest drove temperatures below zero in some areas. Wind chills Sunday in parts of Colorado were well below zero in many areas, in some dipping as -20°F. The National Weather Service office in Cheyenne, Wyoming, warned that most areas of the state would stay in the single digits or colder Sunday, and all will drop below zero Sunday night.
“BRRR! Our area is in the freezer today as bitter cold and snow continue,” the office tweeted.
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Texas, Gulf Coast states could see tornadoes, hail
The weather service in Dallas-Fort Worth warned of freezing rain expected this upcoming week, tweeting, “Now is the time to prepare!” The best chance of dangerous weather is Monday night into Tuesday.
Isolated strong to severe thunderstorms were possible across parts of East Texas and the Gulf Coast states, the weather service warned. Some hail may occur with thunderstorms in Texas, and locally damaging winds and “perhaps a tornado or two” could storm across the region, the weather service said.
New storm to bring gusty winds, lower snow levels in parts of California
After getting more than a week to dry out from a string of atmospheric rivers that drenched much of the state in late December and the first half of January, parts of California will feel the effects of a new storm Sunday evening and into Monday, Accuweather reported.
Instead of the voluminous amounts of rain and snow dumped by those weather systems, the incoming one will initially bring gusty winds to Northern California before heading southeast and delivering precipitation along with the wind.
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The biggest impact might be dropping snow levels below 3,000 feet in some locations, making for dangerous driving conditions in mountain passes such as the Grapevine north of Los Angeles. Thunderstorms in Southern California are also possible.
“This storm will not tally up massive amounts of rain and mountain snow like the events that occurred earlier in the month, but that does not mean it will not have its own set of hazardous conditions,” AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.