An “unprecedented” winter storm continued its attack on the nation on Monday, leaving millions without power in Texas, wreaking havoc across a wide disk in the central and southern United States due to heavy snow and ice.
Monday morning, more than 150 million people were under a winter storm or weather warning in 25 states that stretched over 2,000 miles from southern Texas to northern Maine, National Weather Service said.
Bitter, record-breaking cold accompanied the storm over the central United States Hundreds of daily record low temperatures have been or will be broken during this prolonged “polar jump”, the weather service said, “with some February and even record low temperatures in danger.” Millions of people could see temperatures drop below zero over the next few days, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
Power outages were widespread Monday. In Texas alone, more than 2.3 million customers were in the dark at 6 p.m. 8 local time according to poweroutage.us, a tracking tool for utilities.
Rotary power outages were initiated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT Monday morning, meaning thousands went without power for short periods as temperatures dropped in teens near Dallas and Houston.
“We urge Texans to put safety first,” the council tweeted as it urged residents to reduce electricity consumption. ERCOT controls the flow of electric power in the state.
Houston, where temperatures hit the 70s last Tuesday, saw readings in teens Monday morning, prompting officials to advise residents to prepare for dangerous roads that could resemble those experienced after a Category 5 hurricane.
In Texas, the storm could really be a “once in a generation” type event when taken in the brutally cold conditions, AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.
Thundersnow was reported early Monday as far south as the Gulf Coast in Galveston, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, Weather.com reported.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson each activated National Guard units to assist government agencies with tasks including rescuing stranded drivers.
In a statement Sunday night, President Joe Biden also declared a state of emergency in Texas and ordered federal assistance to assist state and local efforts. The statement allows the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide assistance, equipment and resources to those affected by the storm.
Although the snow was supposed to snow down over Texas on Monday, heavy snow and
Freezing rain is expected to arrive northeast Monday from the Mississippi and Ohio Valley to the northeast, the weather service said. “A large chunk of 6 to 12 inches of snow is expected from the Ohio Valley and the eastern Great Lakes to northern New England,” according to the weather service.
FlightAware reported up to 2,700 canceled flights across the country on Monday and nearly 150 delays. Another 500 cancellations are predicted for Tuesday. George Bush International Airport in Houston closed Monday morning due to ice accumulation on runways.
Meanwhile, in the northwest Pacific, hundreds of thousands of people remained without power after a winter storm over the weekend had covered the region with ice and snow and made the journey treacherous. About 300,000 people were powerless in Oregon alone, poweroutage.us reported.
Unfortunately, another winter storm hitting the Northwest on Monday will bring more snow and ice to parts of the South, Midwest and East later in the week, Weather.com said.
Contribution: Associated Press
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