The experts warn that the plunging temperatures wreaking havoc across the United States and Canada can cause frostbite on bare skin in as little as five to ten minutes.
Because of a powerful winter storm in the Arctic, more than 135 million people are being warned about the weather over the weekend, just in time for the busiest travel days of the year. The warnings extend from coast to coast and as far south as the border between the United States and Mexico and Florida, sometimes known as the Sunshine State.
As the storm continues to strengthen, major airports have been forced to cancel thousands of flights. Forecasters predict that this winter will deliver the coldest Christmas they have seen in decades.
The National Weather Service (NWS) predicted that certain sections of the country might see temperatures between -50 degrees Fahrenheit (-45 degrees Celsius) and -70 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this week. They warned that frostbite would be a significant risk even in prominent metropolitan locations such as Des Moines in Iowa.
What is frostbite?
- Caused when blood flow to the extremities is reduced – a natural response to the cold
- Symptoms usually begin with the affected parts feeling cold and painful
- In extreme cases, the tissue can die, and surgery – even amputation – could be necessary
- Someone with frostbite should be taken into the warm, and medical advice sought
By Friday, meteorologists predict that the winter storm will have strengthened into a “bomb cyclone.”
An explosive storm that builds swiftly, with its central air pressure decreasing by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, is called a bomb cyclone. This storm type is given the name “bomb cyclone.
” In a meeting on Thursday at the White House, Vice President Joe Biden was quoted as saying, “This is not like a snow day when you were a kid; this is serious stuff.”
El Paso, Texas, where recently arrived undocumented migrants are sleeping rough on the streets, is expected to have high wind gusts and a temperature of 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.4 degrees Celsius) as a result of the Arctic air mass. The storm is already spreading devastation from Colorado to Wyoming and up to Minnesota in the north.
Within just one day, the Wyoming Highway Patrol was notified about 787 accidents and received 787 calls for assistance. Robert Oliver, the emergency manager for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, stated that employees were attempting to remove roads with approximately three meters (ten feet) of snow in certain parts.
Mr. Oliver stated that the authorities did not have enough equipment, and there was one case in which the rescue of persons trapped in their homes had to be halted because the hydraulic fluid in heavy equipment froze.
In addition to the impending storm, there is concern that there may be a disruption in electrical service; hence, several service providers have already urged their clients to reduce the temperature on their thermostats. In preparation for the storm, the governor of New York state, Kathy Hochul, issued an emergency declaration.
She stated that the possibility of flooding and ice jams “will cause a lot of damage in our neighborhood.” Ice jams are caused when massive pieces of ice block the flow of a river, and they can lead to flooding if they are not cleared out quickly.
A state of emergency has also been declared by the governors of Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, Georgia, and Oklahoma, while the governor of Wisconsin announced an “energy emergency.” The governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, has described the weather as a “unique and perilous circumstance” by the governor of Ohio, ” particularly as people travel to be with their loved ones over the Christmas holiday.
It is expected to be the coldest Christmas in Florida in the past three decades. The National Weather Service (NWS) has referred to this next winter weather event as a “once-in-a-generation” event, stating on Thursday that “life-threatening wind chills” will hit the east coast on Friday.
The NWS warned more than 100 daily cold temperature records could be tied or broken over the next few days.
- In Colorado, temperatures dipped to a record-breaking low of -9F from 42F on Thursday.
- The city of Cheyenne, Wyoming, set a record for its most extraordinary one-hour temperature drop after going from 43F to 3F within 30 minutes. Elsewhere in the western state, temperatures have dropped as low as -35F.
- Nearly a dozen record-low temperatures were also set in neighboring Montana.
- In Chicago, a winter storm warning is in effect until Saturday, bringing with it several inches of snow and winds topping 50mph (80km/h)
- In Canada, much of Ontario and parts of Quebec are also bracing for a significant winter storm that is expected to last through the Christmas weekend
According to FlightAware’s website, which tracks flights, more than 5,300 flights scheduled to depart from the United States on Thursday and Friday have already been called off.
In preparation for disruptions to passenger transportation, major airlines such as United, Delta, and American have offered to passengers who desire to reschedule their flights: they would not charge a fee. Wednesday’s near-total lack of vision forced authorities to close the roads along the border between Colorado and Wyoming.
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