Over 20 million people under winter storm alerts as snow, rain and cold move across the eastern US
Derrick Hinds, CNN
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(CNN) — More than 20 million people are under winter storm alerts Monday, as a strong storm system works its way across the eastern US.
The federal government in Washington, DC, is closed Monday, and weather-related disruptions are being felt across the country. Many schools have canceled classes, and the New York City Emergency Management Department issued a travel advisory for Monday morning.
Snowfall totals of 4 to 8 inches are possible across the southern Appalachians, and areas of the Mid-Atlantic could see accumulations of up to 8 inches through Monday.
Meanwhile, severe storms and flooding rains are forecast for the coastal Carolinas, where coastal flooding coupled with high tide could cause problems, and weather alerts are also in effect on the West Coast as another storm batters the Pacific Northwest.
The winter weather, coupled with disruptions from Covid-19, caused a headache for air travel. More than 2,700 flights in the US were canceled Sunday. More than 1,800 have already been canceled for Monday, mostly at East Coast airports, and at least 500 more delayed, according to the tracking service FlightAware.
Here’s a look at the latest developments.
New York City began salting streets Sunday evening in anticipation of 1 to 3 inches of snow during the morning commute, mayor Eric Adams said.
Temperatures tumbled into the 20s overnight which could lead to icing, NYC Emergency Management First Deputy Commissioner Christina Farrell added.
For those who are traveling, “move at a slower pace” and “don’t rush” Adams said. “We are ready to meet the storm head on,” Adams said.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency for five counties in preparation for the storm, which is expected to bring heavy snow, wind gusts, and coastal flooding in southern parts of the state.
New Jersey State Trooper Col. Pat Callahan said the 4 to 8 inches predicted across southern parts of the state “offers us some concern, that’s why we don’t take it lightly and want to make sure everybody’s prepared.”
State offices will have a delayed opening until 10 a.m., Murphy said.
Mid-Atlantic and Southeast
Washington, DC, is under a winter storm warning until mid-afternoon. A heavy, wet snow is expected with accumulations of 5 to 8 inches, which will make this the heaviest snow in the area since January of 2019.
Hazardous travel conditions are expected for both the morning and evening commutes, and schools are closed in Washington and Baltimore. The National Weather Service expects snow to taper off through Monday afternoon and the entire storm system to move offshore by early evening.
Portions of North Carolina could see severe storms, heavy rain, significant snowfall, gusty winds, and coastal flooding. Over 1.5 million people are under a tornado watch along coastal sections of the Carolinas through the morning hours.
Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents to stay aware of the local weather forecast and prepare for the conditions expected in the area.
“It’s important to stay informed of changing weather conditions, and to have a way to receive weather alerts,” said Cooper. “A little preparation before severe or winter weather arrives can help avoid inconveniences and emergencies later.”
Meanwhile, parts of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee had winter storm warnings overnight, many of which will extend through midday. Up to 5 inches of snow are possible in higher elevations.
The weather service noted that, “although the ground is relatively warm because of the recent warm temperatures, the snow is expected to fall at high rates and accumulate even on roads.”
The snow should taper off from the west Monday. Slippery roads and black ice conditions could persist or redevelop well into Tuesday morning.
The severe weather is causing disruptions to the electric grid in the Southeast. More than 450,000 customers in Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina are without power, according to PowerOutage.US.
Portions of Western Kentucky have been dealing with flooding as streams continue to rise due to excess rainfall runoff, according to the weather service.
“It will take several hours for all the water from these storms to work through local drainage systems in urban areas,” the warning said. Between 2 and 4.5 inches of rain have fallen.
On Saturday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency due to severe rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and strong winds across the state, all in the wake of tornadoes earlier in the week.
In the Pacific Northwest, a new system will bring heavy snow and travel hazards to higher elevations through Monday.
“A slow-moving cold front will produce 1-2 feet of snow for the northern Cascades and Olympic Mountains on Sunday before shifting focus to the southern Cascades on Monday, where 2-4 feet is likely,” the weather service said.
The system will also bring heavy rainfall to the coasts and valley regions where isolated areas could be at risk for flash flooding. Strong winds were also forecast across the region and high wind alerts were issued.
“These strong winds may cause significant blowing snow from dry powdery snow that is currently on the ground. This may result in significant reductions in visibility … especially over mountain passes and open terrain,” the weather service warned.
This reduced visibility will certainly lead to hazardous travel across the region to start the week.
The weather remains relatively calm in the Midwest, but temperatures have been bitterly cold, with some areas of Minnesota and the Dakotas not seeing temperatures above zero since Friday.
The forecast calls for gradual warming and a chance of snow midweek, before temperatures drop again.
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