Powerful winter storm sweeps western US with millions under weather warnings

‘This is a very wet system. We could experience some tree damage and power outages so people need to be prepared’

Louise Hall
Sunday 14 March 2021 13:02
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Snow storm continues to wreck havoc in US
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Millions of people have been placed under winter storm advisories as much of the country gears up for severe winter weather across the weekend.

In particular, the biggest snowfall in decades could be in store for the Eastern Rockies and Western Plains as a slow-moving system moves east, CNN reported.

Forecasters have said storms in the areas could bring heavy snow and strong winds that could make travel difficult or impossible.

“It will be a impactful, strong storm, but I wouldn’t call it a blizzard right now,” said Colorado-based National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Lisa Kriederman.

“This is a very wet system. We could experience some tree damage and power outages so people need to be prepared.”

The huge storm is expected to see up to two feet (61 cm) of snow and winds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 km per hour) in northern Colorado, southeast Wyoming, and western Nebraska through Sunday, according to the NWS.

Denver could see up to two feet of snow, with the Front Range Mountains and Foothills possibly seeing up to four feet, according to CNN.

“A powerful storm will produce multiple hazards in the Plains,” the agency said on Twitter late on Saturday, warning of “severe storms with large tornadoes, destructive winds”.

The NWS said very large hail could be expected in Texas, while heavy rain and flash floods could be seen between Oklahoma and Nebraska and strong winds and critical fire weather threats were also expected in New Mexico and Texas.

The Colorado Department of Transportation strongly urged motorists to avoid travelling during the storm as snowfall totals could reach four feet in higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains.

According to CNN forecaster meteorologist Tyler Mauldin, parts of Wyoming, including Cheyenne, and Nebraska remain under blizzard warnings while Winter Storm Warnings and advisories continue in other parts.

Snow through central portions of the US is expected to reach its peak on Sunday, Mr Mauldin said.

In the Midwest, the system will bring heavy rains of around four inches over a 72-hour period before it slowly moves to the East Coast next week, bringing wet weather conditions with it.

Flooding could also present a threat across portions of Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois. CNN reported Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Indiana could also see flooding, especially if multiple storms pass over the same locations.

Mr Maudlin warned that once the storm tapers off in the regions impacted by snow on Monday, another system will take its place and continue delivering winter weather into the week.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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