A powerful winter storm is wreaking havoc across the northern plains and upper midwest of the United States, triggering widespread travel chaos and electricity outages impacting millions. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued dire warnings of “blizzard conditions for central South Dakota into parts of Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado,” making travel nearly impossible following the holiday season.
Forecasts predict the storm to unleash up to 13 inches of snow in specific South Dakota areas, accompanied by fierce winds reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour, prolonging the extreme weather spell until early Wednesday morning. This severe weather system has disrupted the lives of over a million residents and visitors in its path.
As of Tuesday morning, immediate aftermath of Christmas, portions of Nebraska and South Dakota witnessed accumulations of four inches of snow, as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Some southeastern South Dakota towns were buried under a foot of snow, marking one of the most substantial snowfalls in recent memory.
The NWS expanded blizzard warnings to encompass parts of five states—Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming—affecting an estimated population of 583,000. Additionally, an ice storm advisory covered nearly half a million more individuals, cautioning against freezing rain and treacherous road conditions.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation announced closures on sections of Interstate 90, both eastbound and westbound, due to hazardous conditions arising from the storm. Concurrently, PowerOutage.us, a platform monitoring outages nationwide, reported disruptions in power supply across various areas impacted by the tempest.
While air travel remained relatively stable initially, FlightAware disclosed delays impacting approximately 2,914 domestic flights, with 87 US-related flights cancelled by mid-morning. Major airports, particularly those in Washington DC, New York, and Boston, faced potential disruptions, particularly for flights connecting to the affected regions.
Notably, while some regions endured blizzard-like conditions, others did not witness a customary white Christmas this year. Surprisingly, the NWS pointed out that Minnesota and Wisconsin, typically known for their frigid winters, potentially shattered their high-temperature records for Christmas Day.
The storm’s rampage through the heartland underscores the unpredictability of winter weather, forcing residents and travelers alike to grapple with the challenges and disruptions brought on by this powerful system.
Sources By Agencies