Millions of Americans are on critical weather alert as a major winter storm is set to bring “life-threatening” cold temperatures and strong winds to much of the nation – with mercury expected to drop to -28.8C in the Midwest and Great Lakes.
More than 80 million Americans — from coast to coast — are under various forms of wind chill alerts, according to FOX Weather meteorologist Christopher Tate.
“We could see wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph (64 km/h to 80 km/h),” he said New York Post On Wednesday.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see occasional 60 gusts along the coast.”
The intense Arctic blast will bring “life-threatening wind showers” to much of the country, the National Weather Service also warned on Wednesday.
“Cold weather of this magnitude could cause frostbite on exposed skin within minutes, as well as hypothermia and death if exposure is prolonged,” the agency said, noting that wind chill alerts are currently being issued from the US-Canadian border to the Texas Gulf Coast pass. including portions of at least 26 states.
Mr Tate said temperatures in the Midwest and Great Lakes could drop to -28.8C.
“Some places are expected to drop as low as minus 20 degrees (-28.8C). And that doesn’t take into account the wind, which will feel like minus 60 (-51C),” the meteorologist said.
The potential “bomb cyclone” will be a one-time weather event, officials said.
A bomb cyclone is a term used by meteorologists to describe a rapidly strengthening storm — typically when a storm system’s central pressure drops to at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, Fox Weather explained.
The blizzard will also bring disruptive conditions to the Northeast, where rain and high winds can cause power outages and icy, unsafe roads, weather forecasters warned.
In addition to strong and damaging winds making it appear even chillier, New York City and the surrounding suburbs should expect rain this coming weekend.
Any precipitation that falls ahead of what is sure to be a busy holiday travel weekend risks freezing quickly, causing slippery and dangerous road conditions.
“If things had gone a little differently we would have had snow and a white Christmas, but it’s going to be a little too warm here,” Tate said.
On Wednesday morning, the winter storm dropped snow across parts of the northern Rocky Mountains and northern plains.
Between 5 cm and 12 cm of snow were reported in the Seattle area on Tuesday, and up to 30 cm of snow were recorded north of Seattle.
The powerful Arctic front is moving south and east and is expected to move toward the northern and central plains and upper Midwest on Wednesday, where conditions will rapidly deteriorate throughout the day, generating dangerous snow squalls, possible white-outs and blizzards .
While the Midwest is expected to bear the brunt of the storm, major airline delays and flight cancellations ahead of and during the holiday weekend will likely be a common theme at major travel hubs and U.S. airports.
Ahead of the troubled forecast, several airlines began offering waivers as the storm is expected to hit Chicago — a key air travel hub — with great force. United, JetBlue, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and Alaska Airlines have previously said they are offering waivers for a number of specific flight routes and dates.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and is reproduced with permission
Originally released as ‘Bomb Cyclone’ storm to bring ‘life-threatening’ cold to US, millions on alert