A brutal winter storm with 80 mph winds was barreling inland Monday.
Nearly 15 million people in a dozen states faced severe weather warnings or watches on Monday. Blizzard or winter storm warnings were in effect for parts of Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.
“This system will stall across the Central Plains through Thursday, producing several days of heavy snow and sleet, blizzard conditions and freezing rain extending into the upper Midwest,” the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said in its advisory. “Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding are possible in the south.”
Pockets of those states could see up to 2 feet of snow, the center said. The weather service in Colorado said the storm would arrive late Monday and last into Tuesday, bringing “whiteout conditions” and road closures.
Snow began to fall in Colorado’s northern mountains Monday night, leaving roads icy and snow-packed, the Colorado Weather Service said.
“Heavy snow will accumulate to more than 1 foot in some areas, which combined with strong winds will make travel nearly impossible,” the forecast center warned.
The storm pummeled parts of Southern California with more than 7 inches of rain and is targeting the center of the country after blasting the Golden State mountains with up to 5 feet of snow. According to FlightAware.com, more than 6,000 U.S. flights were delayed Sunday, and more than 4,500 were late Monday night.
Aquaweather forecasters say more than a foot of snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions are expected to begin in the Northern Plains this week, before significant amounts of snow could be dumped on the Midwest.
The National Weather Service defines a blizzard as “winds of at least 35 mph and/or snow, reducing visibility to a quarter mile or less for at least three hours.”
Two weeks of ‘bitterly’ cold temperatures across the country
The Storm Prediction Center has also issued a warning “Bitter” cold temperatures Dec. 20 and Dec. 26 will continue and will continue to impact the lower 48 states.
According to the center, the Northern Rockies and Northern Plains will experience temperatures in the negative teens with sub-zero temperatures reaching the Central Plains.
Temperatures are forecast to reach the single digits and into the teens in areas south and east, including the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast, the center said. Below freezing temperatures are also expected in the southern plains and southeast.
Severe thunderstorms are forecast to be worst for the south-central US
States that don’t see snow may not be clear, as severe thunderstorms can bring hail, 80 mph winds and even tornadoes. Ackweather warned. A “significant risk” to life and property will emerge for parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas late Monday and Tuesday, according to Accuweather.
The dangerous system could target cities as far south as Springfield, Missouri and Little Rock, Arkansas, as far south as Houston and New Orleans. Some of the same towns and cities that are at risk for severe thunderstorms were recently hit by a deadly tornado outbreak in late November.
“The sharp contrast between the warm, moist air ahead of the storm and the cool, dry air following the storm will create the perfect atmospheric conditions for severe weather to erupt,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff said.
The The weather service said Expect heavy snow and blizzard conditions in the South-Central and “a wintry mix” in the North-Central Plains and upper Midwest on Tuesday.
A tornado warning was issued Monday night for northern Texas and southern Oklahoma as severe weather developed across the south-central region, the weather service said. According to Accuweather, this is the first tornado warning issued in the U.S. this month since the last one on Nov. 30.
Heavy snow, rain: Powerful winter storm dumps snow in Sierra Nevada; Flood watches were triggered in California
Plan ahead: Prepare yourself — and your home — for a blizzard
Heavy rain and snow brought California to a standstill
More than 5 feet of snow fell in the Sierra Nevada, the weather service’s forecast center said. Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties were inundated with more than 7 inches of rain, the weather service said.
In San Luis Obispo County, flooded roads and 80 mph winds brought down power lines. According to PG&E, 30,000 customers lost power for several hours over the weekend.
The weather service issued a special weather report early Monday morning for Oxnard, about 60 miles west of Los Angeles, warning of 50 mph winds and possible half-inch hail.
“Seek shelter in a sturdy structure,” the statement said.
A delayed flight may bring compensation for: If your flight is delayed, you may be entitled to compensation from your airline
Contributed by: Associated Press