A significant winter storm is brewing in the US and is expected to bring frigid temperatures and extreme weather throughout the weekend.
From blizzards and “large hail” to thunderstorms and tornadoes, the National Weather Service has issued weather alerts in nearly every state.
Temperatures in Iowa are expected to drop to bone-chilling levels, reaching as low as -45F (-42C). This frigid weather coincides with the state’s caucuses, where voters are gearing up to participate on Monday.
This is the third significant storm we’ve experienced this week.
Be aware of a wind advisory in effect from Texas to New York, with gusts reaching up to 50mph (80km/h).
Parts of Texas are currently under a wind chill watch until Saturday, with the NWS cautioning about the risks of hypothermia and frostbite. It forecasted wind chills in that area to potentially reach -25F (-32C).
Energy suppliers in the Lone Star State are expressing concern as the average low temperature is forecasted to be 15F (-9C). This comes after the power grid collapse during the Great Texas Freeze of 2021.
Texas Gov Greg Abbott urged residents to exercise extreme caution and prepare for frigid temperatures during a press briefing on Friday. He also reassured the public that warming centres will be made accessible to those who require assistance.
He mentioned that it was unlikely for another days-long blackout to occur.
“Rest assured, the power will remain uninterrupted during this winter storm episode,” assured Gov Abbott, assuring Texans that backup generators and ample fuel were in place to prevent a recurrence of the events in 2021.
According to the NWS, there is a potential for severe weather in the region where Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana intersect. The forecast includes the possibility of strong tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail.
In the northern regions, there are predictions of extremely cold temperatures and frigid wind chills. Some areas, such as upper Michigan, are expected to receive over a foot of snow.
Chicago, Illinois is expected to receive up to 8 inches (20cm) of snow.
As of Friday morning, a significant number of Illinois residents were left without power, causing disruptions in the region including flight cancellations and delays.
Other nearby states are expected to experience blizzard conditions due to a mix of cold, snow, and high winds.
Winter storm warnings have been issued in Iowa, Wisconsin, northern Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. These areas are where Republican voters are expected to gather on Monday to select their state’s presidential nominee.
Forecasters predicted extremely cold temperatures and heavy snowfall in northern Missouri, accompanied by strong winds. The NWS issued a warning about the potential danger of frostbite on exposed skin due to the cold wind chills.
“We consider it extremely dangerous,” a local Missouri branch of the service stated on X, formerly Twitter. “Pay close attention.” It’s not every day that we experience such extreme cold.”
Extreme wind chill warnings have been issued across the northwest, spanning from Washington to North Dakota, and extending down to Nebraska and Kansas.
Locals in Hawaii are being warned about wind gusts exceeding 75mph with the issuance of wind advisories.
Nevertheless, certain regions in the US are already experiencing the onset of strong gusts of wind.
In Fort Myers, Florida, residents were seen grappling with strong wind gusts of up to 30mph, as captured in local news footage. Furthermore, the region was expected to experience storm surges reaching a staggering height of 18ft.
The storm has caused significant disruptions in Iowa, where snow and freezing temperatures had already impacted the state earlier this week.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has decided to cancel her in-person events in the state due to concerns about the weather conditions.
Ron DeSantis had to cancel two in-person events citing “unsafe weather” according to his campaign. However, Vivek Ramaswamy and Donald Trump are still planning to proceed with their scheduled events leading up to Monday’s caucuses in the Hawkeye State.
Weather warnings were issued on Friday to every province and territory in Canada, according to Canadian officials.
Residents in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes have been advised to prepare for significant snowfall and extremely cold temperatures.
Wind chills in parts of Ontario and Quebec were expected to drop to extremely low temperatures, while in parts of Alberta, temperatures were predicted to plummet even further.