Forecasters are warning of treacherous holiday travel and deadly cold for much of the country as Arctic air masses move into the already cold southern United States.
“We’re looking at much lower than normal temperatures, potentially record-low temperatures leading up to the Christmas holiday,” said Zach Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“A rare and dangerous Arctic air mass will bring extreme and prolonged cold conditions to southern Mississippi and southeast Louisiana,” the National Weather Service said in a special weather statement Sunday.
By Thursday night, temperatures will drop to minus 13 degrees (minus 10.6 Celsius) in Jackson, Mississippi; and about 5 degrees (minus 15 Celsius) in Nashville, Tennessee, the National Weather Service predicts.
The incoming Arctic air comes as an earlier storm system over the Northeast US slowly winds up after burying parts of the region under two feet (61 cm) of snow. More than 80,000 customers in New England were still without power Sunday morning, according to Poweroutage.us, which tracks outages nationwide.
For most of the US, the winter weather will get worse before it gets better. According to the latest forecast from the Federal Weather Prediction Center in College Park, the coming week will bring the potential for a “significant winter storm” across the eastern two-thirds of the United States during the second half of the week, just before Christmas. , Maryland.
“The main weather story that will make the weather headlines next week will be a widespread expansion of temperatures from the northern Rockies/Northern Plains into the Midwest through the middle of the week, and then across the Gulf Coast and much of the eastern US. Friday And over the weekend, ”the Weather Prediction Center warned.
“An extremely strong Arctic front with widespread subzero readings expected for overnight lows from the northern Rockies to the central/northern Plains and upper Midwest will initiate a substantial gap in the coldest air of the season, reaching as far south as northern Oklahoma and Southern Missouri.
In Atlanta, where low temperatures are expected to drop below Monday morning, forecasters warned of a cold wind through the end of the week, according to the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, Georgia. Friday night’s low in Atlanta will be about 13 degrees (minus 10.6 Celsius), while Saturday’s high temperature is about 29 degrees (minus 1.7 degrees Celsius) below the freezing mark, the weather service projects.
Florida won’t have a white Christmas, but forecasters are expecting an unusually cold weekend across the state.
North Florida cities such as Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Pensacola have predicted lows in the 20s (minus 3 Celsius), highs near 40 (minus 4 Celsius) on Christmas Eve. Orlando and Tampa are not expected to reach 50 (10 Celsius) on Christmas Eve and not even Miami is expected to top 50 (15 Celsius).
In the Northeast, utility companies bring in additional workers from other states, but are hampered by bad roads and dangerous conditions.
“It was a heavy, wet snow that affected both travel and infrastructure in that area,” said Frank Pereira, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Vermont officials warned Saturday that some customers’ power may not be restored for two to three days. State officials said the state was exploring locations for potential warming centers in the most affected areas.
Police throughout New England responded to hundreds of vehicles that were skidded off the road or in accidents during the weekend storm. Maine State Police said Saturday night that they have responded to more than 180 accidents since Friday evening. State police said there were only minor injuries.
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