Major winter storm to bring ‘ferocious blizzard conditions’ and travel hazards across the country

Drivers in parts of the U.S. were urged not to travel unless absolutely necessary on Monday as a vast storm system is expected to bring “ferocious blizzard conditions,” potential tornadoes and flooding rain to millions, according to the National Weather Service.

Weather alerts stretch coast to coast for more than 200 million people, with 108 million people under wind alerts, 43 million under winter alerts and 59 million under flood alerts.

The weather service said in an advisory early Monday that up to 2 inches of snow per hour could land in the central and southern Plains Monday night into Tuesday. Snowfall rates exceeding 2 inches per hour and widespread wind gusts up to 70 mph are expected as this system advances into the Midwest overnight into Tuesday. Around 42 million people are under winter weather alerts, with blizzard warnings extending from northeastern New Mexico into south central Nebraska.

Cities feeling the greatest impact include Omaha, Nebraska, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, which may receive 6 to 10 inches of snow.

A foot of snow had already landed in Massachusetts by Sunday afternoon, leaving 13,000 homes in the state without power. That number had dropped to 5,600 by Monday morning.

Snow and hazardous conditions are also expected in the interior Northeast throughout Tuesday, while a blizzard is expected in the Plains of northeast New Mexico, eastern Colorado, the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles, western Kansas and southwest Nebraska.

“Wind gusts as high as 60-70 mph will create ferocious blizzard conditions with whiteouts. Travel will become extremely dangerous to impossible. If you must travel, pack a winter survival kit as wind chills will plummet below zero,” the weather service said.

Forecasters warned on January 5 that a deluge of snow and wintery conditions could bring travel chaos to the US northeast this weekend, with some 25 million people subject to a storm warning.
A snowplow clears the road in Methuen, Mass., on Sunday.Joseph Prezioso / AFP – Getty Images

Video showed snow weighing down and breaking tree branches in Salem, New Hampshire.

Elsewhere, the weather service warned of a high risk of severe thunderstorms across the central Gulf Coast on Monday night into Tuesday, with very strong winds, possible nocturnal tornadoes and the risk of significant flash flooding into Wednesday also potentially affecting much of the East Coast. Cities to watch include Houston, New Orleans, Mobile and Panama City.

Ground stops were issued at Dallas Love Field Airport, William P. Hobby Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport due to thunderstorms, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Sunday that the Texas Division of Emergency Management had raised its level of preparedness.

“The State of Texas stands ready to deploy all available resources to take care of Texans and our communities as multiple severe weather threats begin to impact the state tomorrow,” he said in a statement.

The College Football Playoff is still scheduled to take place Monday despite weather reports, according to the Houston Office of Emergency Management.

Louisiana State University announced that its campus will close Monday and all classes and activities will be canceled.

New York has already been hit with what Gov. Kathy Hochul called a “classic nor’easter” over the weekend, a storm that dumped a foot of snow and caused a severe flooding risk.

“We have seen snow accumulations across the State and with more on the way we are keeping a close eye on potential impacts throughout the day — I urge New Yorkers to stay vigilant and practice caution, especially if you need to travel,” she said in a statement Sunday.

Forecasters warned on January 5 that a deluge of snow and wintery conditions could bring travel chaos to the US northeast this weekend, with some 25 million people subject to a storm warning.
A person clears snow from a driveway in Lawrence, Mass., on Sunday. Joseph Prezioso / AFP – Getty Images

On the West Coast, two powerful winter storm systems are due to pass over the Pacific Northwest on Monday night, bringing several feet of snow and blizzard conditions. More than a foot of snow is likely for higher parts of the Northern Rockies on Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather service said.

A girl was pinned by a tree that toppled over at a popular flea market in Fairfax, California, due to strong winds Sunday, NBC Los Angeles reported. She was later treated at a hospital, according to the news station. Her condition was not immediately available Monday morning.

In Southern California, temperatures are expected to be near or below freezing in some areas, including around Lancaster and Pyramid Lake, according to the National Weather Service field office in Los Angeles.