Possible cyclonic bomb puts 65 million people in the US on alert

Possible cyclonic bomb puts 65 million people in the US on alert

More than 65 million people are under winter weather warnings as a powerful storm — potentially a bomb cyclone — heads east after bringing snow and frigid temperatures to the central United States.

In the Midwest, residents of Kansas and Missouri are bracing for a treacherous winter mix ahead of the morning commute, with more snowfall expected in the region.

Temperatures on Friday in areas stretching from Minnesota to Texas are forecast to plummet to between -6 and -1 degrees Celsius below normal. And as night falls, it could start snowing in the interior parts of the eastern United States, making it difficult for millions of people to travel.

The storm is expected to become a bomb cyclone by Saturday and could bring heavy snow and damaging winds to Syracuse, New York and Pittsburgh, among other areas, heading inland from the Northeast. A bomb cyclone forms when a storm drops its pressure by 24 millibars (a measure of pressure) in less than 24 hours.

“Snow rates of more than 2.5 cm/hr, combined with wind gusts, will produce blowing and drifting snow and severely reduced visibility. This will create difficult or hazardous travel conditions,” the Weather Prediction Center said on Friday.

Widespread snowfall between 6 and 30 centimeters can be expected, with isolated totals possibly up to 38 centimeters, it said.

“Our concern is with the load on the trees. With winds expected to be between 56 and 72 km/h, and with this heavy, wet snow, we could be seeing not only travel problems but numerous power outages,” Boyd said.

On Thursday, much of Colorado and Kansas were inundated with heavy snow, with higher totals of 3 to 13 inches falling over western Kansas along Interstate 70. To the east, Topeka, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, they collected at least between 3 and 12 centimeters of snow.

El NWS in Kansas City had warned about travel on Thursday and that Friday would be messy due to snowy weather. Forecasters said 1 to 3 inches of snow had fallen in the city, reducing visibility on roads. Some schools in Kansas City announced they would close both days due to dangerous conditions.

The storm warning in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

The worst of the storm is expected to hit inland areas of the Northeast beginning Friday night through Saturday, according to forecasts. Those areas are likely to see snowfall exceeding 12 inches, which could lead to power outages.

The storm is expected to pass between the I-95 corridor and Cape Cod, then along or near the coast of Maine with a low of less than 970 millibars, according to the National Weather Service in Boston. The storm’s low pressure is similar to the strength of a Category 2 hurricane.

In Syracuse, up to a foot of snow could be seen Saturday, with the largest amounts falling between midnight Saturday and early afternoon, according to Citizen Free Press Meteorologist Robert Shackelford. And the winds are expected to reach gusts of up to 72 km / h, with temperatures below 0 degrees.

Parts of Vermont could also see up to 12 inches of snow Saturday, and winds will also be strong at 40 mph, Shackelford said.

Snow in Pittsburgh could reach up to 8 inches, with the worst conditions occurring between early Saturday morning and noon. And West Virginia could see up to 7 inches of snow.

Weather conditions in the South and Midwest

The storm will also bring snow and low temperatures to areas that don’t normally see those conditions often.

As much as 3 inches of snow could fall this Friday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Nashville, Tennessee, where cold temperatures can help black ice form on roads, Shackelford said. And in Winslow, Arizona, snow estimates are similar, but winds can reach up to 40 mph.

“Expect wintry driving conditions on many area roads, including Highway 87 from Winslow south to the Rim, and SR 260 from Kohls Ranch east through the White Mtns,” the NWS in Flagstaff tweeted early Friday.

Meanwhile, up to 5 inches of snow could fall in Lexington, Kentucky, while up to 3 inches of snow is expected in Louisville, Shackelford said. Rain and snow are expected in Huntsville, Alabama, where flash frosts are possible and wind gusts can reach 64 mph.

In the central United States, Little Rock, Arkansas and Oklahoma City could see between 1 and 7.6 centimeters of snow, although some local areas in Little Rock may see higher totals. Ice is a threat in Oklahoma City, but Little Rock is likely to see rain.

Ben Oakley
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