HOUSTON | A cold snap is expected to spread to the United States after killing ten and depriving millions of people of electricity, including southern states like Texas with usually mild temperatures.
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The National Weather Service (NWS) has warned of an “unprecedented and extensive area of dangerous winter conditions” from the East Coast to the West Coast, with more than 150 million Americans on winter weather advisories.
While a new storm is expected in the Great Lakes region (northeast), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday ordered emergency services to prepare, expecting “snow, snow. ice and strong winds across the state for the next two days ”.
Freezing rain, snowfall, blizzard, polar cold has been hitting the United States for several days.
While ten deaths have been attributed to bad weather, authorities have urged residents to exercise caution when traveling in these perilous conditions.
“We didn’t survive nearly a year of a pandemic to lose people to a snowstorm or ice storm,” said Kentucky Gov. Andrew Beshear.
A giant ice-storm pileup on a highway near Dallas left at least six dead and dozens injured last Thursday.
Louisiana authorities confirmed the death of a man Monday in Lafayette, the first linked to bad weather in the southern state.
A man has died in an ice-storm car crash in Kentucky, according to CBS.
A young boy has died after falling into a frozen pond in Tennessee, police cited by local media.
An elderly man has died in Texas, bringing the death toll from the cold snap to ten.
More accustomed to heat records than ice, Texas is particularly affected by this historic cold snap.
A thick blanket of snow thus enveloped the streets, trees and cars of the state capital, Austin. Some places even saw the temperature drop to -18 degrees Celsius this weekend while a large city like Houston hit -9 degrees.
The inhabitants of Texan cities find themselves caulked in their homes, the children not being able to go out for lack of enough warm clothes in this state where the usual average temperature is around 20 degrees.
Due to heavy snowfall, frost and measures to avoid grid overload, nearly 2.8 million homes were without power Monday at 7:30 p.m. GMT in the “Lone Star State”, according to the site Poweroutage.us.
Extreme weather is expected to spread even further south, with the NWS warning that “severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and warm temperatures are expected for southern Georgia and Florida.”
President Joe Biden on Sunday signed a declaration of emergency for Texas, providing federal assistance to complement state relief.
Besides Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas and Mississippi and Oregon, where 300,000 people are without electricity, have issued state of emergency declarations. More than 3,000 flights were canceled Monday across the country according to the FlightAware website.
“More than 150 million Americans live in a place where warnings of extreme cold, freezing rain or snowstorm vigilance plans have been put in place,” the National Weather Service (NWS) said Monday.
“This spectacular cold snap that hit the continental United States is linked to the combination of an arctic high pressure area carrying freezing temperatures and a very active depression with waves of precipitation,” said the institution.
“Hundreds of cold records have been recorded and will be broken during this polar cold snap,” added the NWS.
In the center of the country, temperatures have already reached record highs during the weekend with -45 degrees Celsius in parts of Minnesota, one of the coldest states in the United States.
Temperatures are likely to drop well below seasonal norms in the center and southern plains of the country until Tuesday, the weather services warned.