AccuWeather.com is wrapping up live coverage of the long-duration winter storm that spread snow and ice across 2,000 miles, followed by a blast of frigid Arctic air. Thank you for staying up to date with the storm on AccuWeather.com. For additional coverage, you can stream AccuWeather NOW anytime on our website.
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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is warning residents to stay off the roads as slick conditions are expected to develop during the evening commute, the New York Daily News reported. “This storm is throwing everything at us,” Gov. Hochul said. “It is literally a day full of freezing rain coming down.” Areas around the Hudson Valley are expected to see the brunt of the storm, but New York City itself is forecast to see a trace to 0.05 inches of ice; even a light glaze of ice is enough to make travel dangerous. In advance of the icy conditions, Greyhound has canceled bus services from the Midtown Bus Terminal in Times Square starting at 1 p.m.
Hundreds of flights were canceled at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Thursday due to snow and ice across the city. The 1.5 inches of snow that accumulated in Dallas on Thursday made it the second-snowiest day in the city since March 4, 2015, only behind Feb. 14, 2021, when 4 inches accumulated. AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell was in Dallas and spoke to some visitors, including Terry Merritt, who was visiting from Houston. “Driving in Houston, I can barely drive around the city, so no, I’m not trying to put my life at risk on the highways,” Merritt told Wadell. The wintry weather will not hang around Dallas for too long with temperatures returning to the 60s F early next week.
Houston resident Terry Merritt found himself in snowy Dallas on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. (AccuWeather/Bill Wadell)
This time a week ago, residents in Boston and elsewhere along the Interstate 95 corridor were bracing for a major nor’easter that would unload heavy snow from Virginia to Maine while also triggering blizzard conditions from Friday through Saturday. Boston received a storm total of 23.8 inches, good for the seventh-largest snowfall event in city history. But by Thursday, as the next storm moved through, the snow had vanished in open areas of the city, as evidenced by a tweet shared by Eric Fisher, the chief meteorologist for WBZ in Boston. Fisher noted on Thursday that some protected areas of the city still had a couple of inches on the ground, but the remaining snow was largely expected to be gone by Friday.
A week later, and many areas that were buried by snow are largely snow free, thanks to a rapid meltdown and drenching rain that is soaking much of the I-95 corridor. This meltdown occurred just in time as an Arctic front was tracking through the Northeast Friday morning, sending temperatures plummeting back down below freezing.
The morning commute around Buffalo, New York, was slower than usual due to snow-packed roads, but that didn’t stop one person from trudging through the snow on one wheel. Early Friday morning, a man was seen unicycling down a snowy road and almost sporting a grin while making his way down the street. Almost as impressive as maintaining his balance in the snow, he was riding a unicycle in gusty winds with an AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature around 0 F.
On Friday’s edition of AccuWeather’s Weather Insider podcast, Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno looks back at the stormy stretch over the past several weeks including the current cross-country storm bringing messy wintry precipitation to the Northeast. Rayno is joined by AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologist Melissa Constanzer and the pair look ahead to a quieter weather pattern across the country, but also discuss some areas where there could still be some impactful weather. Listen to the latest episode below.
As the sun rose over North America on Friday, the GOES-EAST weather satellite captured stunning images of the storm that has wreaked havoc across the central and eastern U.S. Clouds stretched from central Mexico, across the eastern U.S. and into Atlantic Canada. The worst of the wintry weather is currently hitting the Northeast with snow, sleet and freezing rain falling from the Ohio Valley through New England.
Clouds from the far-reaching winter storm can be seen from Mexico to Canada on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. (NOAA/GOES-EAST)
The number of power outages across the Northeast and Ohio Valley is trending upward as snow and ice fall across the region. Still, Tennessee accounts for over one-quarter of the nearly 400,000 outages across the U.S. amid a massive winter storm, according to PowerOutage.us. More outages are possible across the Northeast through Friday before the storm departs, so residents should make sure to charge their cell phones and have plans in place in the event of an outage.
The far-reaching winter storm has spread snow from the southern Rockies to northern New England, and on Friday morning, 50.7% of the contiguous U.S. was covered in snow, according to NOAA. This is the highest snow coverage so far this winter. Previously, the highest snow coverage this winter was 50.5% on Jan. 3, 2022, after a pair of fast-moving snowstorms tracked across the central and eastern U.S.
This NOAA analysis shows 50.7% of the contiguous U.S. was covered in snow (blue) on Feb. 4, 2022. (NOAA)
Miles of motorists were trapped in their vehicles on Interstate 10 in Kerrville, Texas, for more than 12 hours due to icy conditions, according to a tweet from Brad Sowder, a reporter for Fox 29 in San Antonio. Friday morning, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures were as cold as 5 degrees below zero. According to CBS Austin, several crashes on I-10 in Kerrville caused this backup that has been going on for hours. No injuries were reported. Officials say the highway will likely be hindered for hours and urged motorists who travel north on I-10 to find an alternate route.
Western Tennessee was glazed over by freezing rain on Thursday as an ice storm froze the Tennessee Valley. AccuWeather National Reporter Jillian Angeline was in Memphis, Tennessee, on Friday morning and witnessed the destruction from the ice storm firsthand. “Every house on this tree-lined road in Memphis has large branches from trees down,” Angeline said. “This is what a dangerous ice storm can do.” Shelby County, home to Memphis, accounts for over 124,000 of the 131,000 power outages in Tennessee, according to PowerOutage.us.
A cold front moving over parts of the Eastern U.S. Friday morning, which made for significant temperature differences. In Wise County, Virginia, Lonesome Pine Airport recorded a temperature of 32 degrees F, while on the other side of Virginia, in Williamsburg, there was a recorded a temperature of 70 degrees F. This is a temperature difference of 38-degrees F between the two areas that are about 400 miles apart.
Drivers navigate icy road conditions along U.S. 75 in Dallas, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
By Friday morning close to 3,000 flights have been canceled within, into or out of the U.S for the third straight day in a row as a winter storm continues to snarl air travel. according to FlgithAware.com. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport has more than 275 canceled flights as of Friday morning. As the winter storm moves over parts of the Northeast and New England, airports there have started canceling flights. Boston Logan International Airport has more than 225 canceled flights and LaGuardia Airport has close to 200 canceled flights as of Friday morning.
Burlington, Vermont, received 6.5 inches of snow on Thursday. This broke the daily record of 6.2 inches from way back in 1910. Heavy snow has continued to fall since midnight, and the city is likely to have over a foot of accumulation by the time the snow tapers off this afternoon. Streets and sidewalks will be snow-packed and slippery across much of the areas throughout the day.
A variety of precipitation types is occurring across Pennsylvania this morning. Snow is falling in the northwestern part of the state, with rain in the east and southeast. From far southwestern Pennsylvania to central and northeastern Pennsylvania, freezing rain is falling. Ice is beginning to accumulate on power lines and the latest outage number from PowerOutage.US is now above 30,000 customers. Most of these are in Washington County, where freezing rain has been falling since Thursday afternoon and is now changing over to snow. Almost 20,000 customers are in the dark in Washington County this morning. In addition to power issues, roads and sidewalks will be very slippery and icy for the morning commute.
Freezing rain has now changed over to snow in southern Ohio, but the ice caused a large spike in power outages. Total outages across the state are approaching 80,000 customers, according to PowerOutage.US. In Hocking County in south-central Ohio, over 70% of customers are without electricity. Snow falling on top of the ice will keep roads slick, which will slow power restoration efforts.
Although precipitation has largely come to an end across the Volunteer State, power crews are still trying to restore electricity. Nearly 140,000 customers are without power in Tennessee. Almost all of the outages, around 130,000, are in Shelby County, the county in which Memphis is located. Temperatures remaining below freezing are hindering power restoration, as the cold air is keeping ice on roads. It will likely be at least several days until power is fully restored. Residents using generators will want to be sure to have the generator far enough away from the house to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
With the current winter storm, here is how you can measure snow. First, collect your supplies. You’ll need a ruler or a yard stick, white plywood board roughly 16 inches in size and a flag or something to help locate the board later. Find an open area away from tall objects, but sheltered from wind to place the whiteboard, marking it with the flag to set up. During events with high winds, the National Weather Service recommends taking measurements from several locations and averaging them out. You’ll want to set up before the snow begins. Then, once the snow begins to fall, measure the snow that has fallen on the board daily at the same time. All totals should be recorded to the nearest tenth of an inch. As soon as it stops snowing, measure the snow one last time to avoid lower totals due to melting, settling and drifting. After that, all that’s left to do is share your report with your local National Weather Service station.
The remainder of American Airlines’ inbound flights to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport scheduled for Thursday have been canceled due to inclement weather, the airline confirmed with AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell. “The winter storm is having a significant impact on our DFW operation. Due to conditions at the airport, the remainder of flights bound for DFW this evening have been canceled and we anticipate additional impact through tomorrow morning,” according to a statement released by the airline. “We apologize to our customers whose travel plans may be affected and want to thank our team who is working tirelessly to help safely care for our customers.” Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport saw over 1,400 arrival and departure cancellations with at least another 156 flights delayed as of Thursday night, according to FlightAware.
If you must be on the roads, you should have these important items. It might seem obvious, but it is important to travel with a full tank of gas or a full electric charge. Tools like sand, snow shovels and ice scrapers are also key. Sand (or even cat litter) can be dumped on the roadway to help a stuck car gain traction, while snow shovels can help remove snow around tires and ice scrapers can help you clear an icy windshield. When it comes to survival, having a supply of drinking water, perishable foods and blankets in your car is important. When stuck on the road, your phone is crucial to allowing you to call for help, so having a portable phone charger can be a difference-maker. Road flares or flashlights can also be used to signal for help from passing drivers or snowplows.
All that said, stay off the roads during the blizzard, if at all possible. It does not take a blizzard to make traveling extremely dangerous, as many Virginia commuters found out in January when they got stuck on Interstate 95 for more than a day.
Cameron County, located in deep south Texas, is one of several counties in the state under a wind chill advisory. The county is the southmost point of Texas, and borders the Mexico state of Tamaulipas. AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures are forecasted to reach 17 degrees in South Point, Texas, which is about 1.5 miles north of Tamaulipas, Mexico. The county also goes into a Freeze Watch early Saturday morning.
Thick fog has caused reduced visibility for areas near long island and southern Connecticut on Thursday afternoon. The fog is expected to thicken more this evening and could become locally dense, according to the National Weather Service. Visibility could be reduced to just 0.2 miles in places like Farmingdale, New York, and New Haven, Connecticut. This precedes winter weather which is expected to impact the region on Friday.
At least six people are injured after a 15-car pileup occurred on the westbound portion of Austin Peay Highway in Tennessee. The westbound side will remain closed for an undetermined amount of time as crews work to clear the scene, according to Memphis Fire Department. The pileup occurred around 5 p.m. on Thursday evening at the intersection of Austin Peay and James Road. Snow and freezing rain was reported around the Memphis area at the time of the crash. Six people have been transported to the hospital and two are in critical condition. A total of 21 people were involved in the crash.
Multiple crashes occurred on Interstate 70 in Missouri on Thursday afternoon. The crash occurred at the 170 mile marker in Montgomery county, a few miles west of New Florence, Missouri. State Troopers are currently investigating what caused the crash. The pileup happened soon after snow and very cold temperatures impacted the area. Fulton, Missouri, which is about 20 miles west of the crash site, recorded 8.8 inches of snow on Thursday morning.
While it may cost some extra time when trying to make connecting flights, deicing planes is an essential process in aircraft safety, as the buildup can hinder a plane’s ability to fly smoothly and safely.“Snow, ice and frost change the shape of the wing and tail and their ability to generate lift — the force that allows an airplane to fly — and increase weight and drag — the forces an airplane must overcome in order to fly,” said William Here, a pilot and CEO of regional airline charter online marketplace Linear Airline Taxi. Ice can accumulate on every exposed frontal surface of an airplane, not just the wings, and enough ice buildup can even cause the engine to stop working.
The expansive winter storm impacting much of the middle of the nation forced the cancellation of about 2,300 domestic flights on Wednesday. And on Thursday the storm picked up where it left off and more than doubled that number, causing airlines to cancel 5,046 U.S. flights as of 5 p.m., according to data tracked by Flightaware, to go along with nearly 5,500 delays. And looking ahead to Friday, neither the weather forecast nor the air travel is looking much better. Already more than 1,600 flights into U.S. airports scheduled for Friday have been called off.
Heavy rain was transitioning into sleet and freezing rain as a significant ice storm moved into western Pennsylvania early Thursday evening.The state was bracing for lengthy power outages as the night progressed and some service disruptions have been reported. Major accidents were minimal, although the Pennsylvania Turnpike and PennDOT both issued speed restrictions - reduced to 45 mph -- on the turnpike (I-76) from the Ohio line to the Breezewood exit, and on the following interstates: I-80, I-79 and I-376, as well as Route 28. Although crews were already pre-treating roads ahead of the expected big blast of freezing rain, officials were telling people to avoid unnecessary travel. Some flooding was already reported in several Pittsburgh suburbs and a flood warning was issued through early Friday.
Members of the Oklahoma National Guard help clear an accident on a snow-covered roadway.
Members of a special National Guard unit in Oklahoma have been out assisting state emergency crews with clearing multiple highway accidents off snow-packed travel arteries. Overnight, Guard members also helped guide vehicles through a maze of tractor-trailers involved in a major crash on Interstate 40 and “provided aid to stranded motorists,” officials said. “Who needs horse power when you’ve got Soldier power,” one Twitter post said the next day as members trudged on with their rescue work.
A long-track supercell produced a large tornado just south of Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Thursday afternoon. Damage was spotted in Sawyerville, Alabama, after the tornado went through the area, according to WVTM. The tornado crossed Highway 14 in the state. Injuries have been reported in Hale County, Alabama following the tornado. A tornado watch remains in effect for much of southwestern Alabama and southeastern Mississippi until 6:00 p.m. central time.
Memphis and other parts of Tennessee were seeing numerous reports of spun-out vehicles and cars into ditches due to the ice-laden roadways as freezing rain continued to fall in that state. “There’s ice hanging from street signs, on trees, on any surface,” said AccuWeather National Correspondent Jillian Angeline, reporting from Memphis. Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation were urging people to stay home. “They were really hoping to see less people out on the roads,” Angeline said. Ice-covered pine trees were falling, especially in Midtown Memphis, causing even more outages, which were climbing to more than 137,000 statewide, according to PowerOutage.us.
Roads and sidewalks could turn into sheets of ice across the Northeast on Thursday night as temperatures drop below 32 F. Albany, New York, is predicted to receive between 0.15 and 0.25 of an inch of ice after the rain turns into freezing rain. However, there is the chance that ice could accumulate up to 0.50 of an inch, which could cause tree limbs to snap and weigh down power lines. People can see a complete breakdown of the chances for snow and ice in their neighborhood with AccuWeather Wintercast.
Over 250,000 electric customers are in the dark, and that number continues to rise as snow and ice fall in over a dozen states. Tennessee is reporting nearly 124,000 outages, more than double any other state that is being impacted by the storm, according to PowerOutage.us. People who find themselves in the dark during this multifaceted storm should follow these safety tips until power can be restored.
This map does not show states where there are fewer than 12,000 outages. Data as of 2 p.m. EST Thursday.
The worst of the wintry weather has focused on a zone from central Texas to Indiana, but the storm is starting to make its presence felt across the Northeast. Snow has gradually spread across northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and Vermont throughout the day, with 4 inches accumulating south of Buffalo. A light accumulation of ice has also been reported northwest of Pittsburgh. The area of snow and freezing rain will expand into Thursday night, making travel extremely difficult across most of the region leading up to the Friday morning commute.
Snow (blue) and ice (purple) was starting to spread across the interior Northeast early Thursday afternoon while rain (green, yellow) was soaking other parts of the region. (AccuWeather)
While snow, sleet and freezing rain cover communities from San Antonio through Cleveland, severe thunderstorms are poised to develop over the Southeast. A tornado watch was issued around midday Thursday for roughly 3 million people across Mississippi and Alabama and will continue through the evening. Flooding downpours, frequent lightning and damaging winds are also a concern across the region.
Snow and ice are keeping airplanes grounded from Texas through Ohio with 4,600 cancellations as of midday Thursday, according to FlightAware. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport closed its runways for a time on Thursday amid snow and ice, contributing to over 620 flight cancellations, more than any other airport in the country. The airport has since reopened one runway. To the south, Austin-Bergstrom International canceled nearly 80% of all departing flights. Anyone flying to or from an airport across the central or eastern U.S. on Thursday or Friday should check the status of their flight before heading to the airport.
Ice coats trees and the road as an SUV drives in Richardson, Texas, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. A major winter storm with millions of Americans in its path is spreading rain, freezing rain and heavy snow further across the country. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
On Thursday’s edition of AccuWeather’s Weather Insider podcast, Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno gives an update on the freezing rain and sleet wreaking havoc across the South Central states. Rayno says more heavy snow is unfolding as well in areas such as St. Louis and Detroit. He also discusses the forecast for the Northeast as the storm will continue to impact the region into Friday. Give the latest episode a listen below.
If someone were to hop in a car and drive from Crockett County, Texas, to Aroostook County, Maine, there is a path along which that motorist could be under a winter storm warning for the entire duration of the trip, as the NWS in San Angelo, Texas, pointed out. The distance from Crockett County, located in south-central Texas, to Aroostook County, located on the border with Atlantic Canada, is roughly 2,335 miles.
On Thursday morning, winter storm warnings (dark blue) nearly stretched from Mexico to Canada. (AccuWeather)
A snowplow with the Ohio Department of Transportation crashed Tuesday morning as it worked to clear snow and ice off of the state’s roadways, according to a tweet from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Snow and ice have spread across much of the state as part of a winter storm complex that is affecting millions from New Mexico to Maine, leaving extremely dangerous travel conditions in its wake. “Our driver was taking it slow treating the roads when he hit ice and slid off the road,” ODOT tweeted. “This goes to show it doesn't matter what vehicle you're driving, ice is NOT forgiving!”
Icy conditions have been reported in San Antonio, Texas, with the accumulating ice bending fences at a Top Golf facility in the area. "The power of ice," the National Weather Service office in San Antonio tweeted in response to the Top Golf photo. "It will put a tremendous amount of stress on anything it accumulates on."
Ice accumulations are expected to continue, with AccuWeather forecasting 0.25 to 0.50 of an inch of ice, which is more than enough to damage trees and power lines and make travel extremely dangerous. Nearly 30,000 people are without power in Bexar County, whose county seat is San Antonio. The conditions in the area are ripe for ice accumulations, with light winds and temperatures around 27 degrees F.
Cold is an understatement for parts of the central U.S. this morning as frigid air filters southward from the Arctic. After Denver picked up 5.6 inches of snow from the storm earlier in the week, the city saw the AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature dip to 10 F below zero early Thursday morning. This was one of the highest AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures across the region, with Kansas City bottoming out at 19 F below zero, Minneapolis reaching 24 F below zero and Langdon, North Dakota, hitting an incredibly low 52 F below zero.
Wintry precipitation is creating hazardous roadways and many states have urged motorists to avoid unnecessary travel. Tier 1 restrictions will be put in place on numerous Pennsylvania highways Thursday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Tractors without trailers, tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded trailers and motorcycles are some of the vehicles that are not permitted on the affected roadways in Pennsylvania when Tier 1 restrictions are in place. In Indiana, 27 counties are under the highest level of the local travel advisory, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. This means travel is restricted to emergency management workers only and individuals are directed to refrain from all travel. Most to all roadways in Illinois are either partly or mostly covered with ice or snow, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The Illinois Department of Transportation wrote on Twitter Thursday morning “As you can see, it is a mess over nearly the entire state. Please stay home if you are able to give our crews more room to work.”
Many roads in southern and central Indiana are covered with ice and snow, contributing to travel delays and accidents. The westbound lanes of Interstate 74 were shut down near Greensburg, Indiana, around 10 a.m. EST after multiple tractor-trailers jackknifed across the highway. It is unclear if there are any injuries or when the interstate will be reopened. Travel conditions could worsen before they improve with more snow, sleet and ice expected across Indiana throughout Thursday.
Two tractor-trailers were blocking Interstate 74 near Greensburg, Indiana, on Thursday morning following a crash amid icy conditions. (Twitter/Sgt. Stephen Wheeles)
Texans from Dallas to San Antonio are waking up to wintry precipitation, making for challenging travel. Police officers in Hewitt, Texas, located between Dallas and Austin, said that most roads in the area were covered in a mix of sleet and freezing rain. “If you don’t have to travel today, please stay home,” the police department said on Facebook. “We expect these conditions to worsen.”
Roads in Hewitt, Texas, were covered in sleet and ice on Thursday morning. (Hewitt Police Department)
Over 100,000 people are currently in the dark across parts of the South as a massive winter storm brings snow, ice and sleet across a vast stretch of the country, according to PowerOutage.us. The majority of the outages are in Texas, where 70,000 customers and counting are without power. Most of the outages are concentrated around Hunt County, which is in the northeastern part of the state. More than 25,000 households are out of power in Arkansas, with an additional 12,000 people powerless in Tennessee and another 6,900 out in Indiana.
The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) has reported a fatal rollover crash on a mountainous road just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the first fatality reported during the massive winter storm that spans from New Mexico to Maine. Another individual was injured in the crash. Following the incident, officials closed the road, which they say is extremely icy and snow-packed. Altogether, the BCSO saw 11 vehicle crashes on Feb. 2, with 13 injuries reported. While snow and ice have left the Albuquerque area, some snow continues to fall in eastern portions of New Mexico.
Inches of sleet have piled up across Arkansas over the past 12 hours as the icy precipitation spreads across the region. The worst of the sleet has occurred in the central part of the state surrounding the capital city of Little Rock. Between 1 and 1.5 inches of sleet have fallen in Little Rock, but Otter Creek, located southwest of the city, has reported 2 inches of sleet. Sleet hits the ground as small ice pellets, which is different from freezing rain, which occurs when raindrops freeze after reaching the surface.
A winter storm brought chilly weather to parts of Texas Thursday morning. Dallas, Texas temperatures were in the mid 20s F, but AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures were in the single digits. While residents in Dallas are waking up to cold weather, residents in New York City are waking up to “spring-like” temperatures. The AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature in New York City is 43 degrees F, which is mild for this time of year. Temperatures are forecasted to turn cold in New York City by the end of the week.
Icy weather is anticipated along a nearly 2,000-mile stretch of the U.S. from the southern Plains to the Northeast. Depending on the exact conditions in the atmosphere, this can mean either sleet or freezing rain. But what is the difference between the two types of wintry precipitation? In both cases, a layer of warm air well above the ground causes falling snowflakes to melt into raindrops. As the water droplets continue to fall toward the ground, they encounter a layer of below-freezing air. This is what determines if there is sleet or freezing rain.If there is a thick layer of cold air above the ground, the raindrops freeze into balls of ice, known as sleet, before reaching the earth. In extreme cases, sleet can accumulate several inches, similar to snow. However, if there is a very thin layer of cold air above the ground, the water droplets do not have enough time to freeze before reaching the surface. Instead, the water freezes after contact with the surface, glazing everything in a layer of ice. The weight of the ice on tree limbs and power lines is one reason why ice storms are known for causing widespread power outages.
More than 4,000 flights within, into or out of the United States have been canceled today, according to FlightAware.com. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport has closed due to weather conditions after more than 500 flights were canceled at DFW, according to the FAA. Chicago O’Hare International Airport also has a high amount of canceled flights, with more than 250. As winter weather continues to affect many areas this morning, more flights are expected to be canceled.
Daytime highs were in the 50s and 60s in central and southern Arkansas on Wednesday, but that is just a distant memory at this point. All but the far southwestern corner of the state is now at or below 32 degrees F. Freezing rain is now widespread across the majority of the state. Little Rock is just one such location. After a temperature of 62 degrees just before noon on Wednesday, the mercury has plunged to 32 degrees this morning with freezing rain and sleet falling. This will create very treacherous conditions for the morning commute. Hazardous travel from sleet and freezing rain is likely from northern and central Texas through Arkansas and western portions of Kentucky and Tennessee. High temperatures will rise above freezing this weekend, but nights will fall below freezing.
Following temperatures soaring into the 60s to start the month of February, Oklahoma City fell through the 20s on Wednesday afternoon and ended up in the teens by the evening. This drop in temperatures allowed precipitation that briefly began as sleet to quickly change over to snow. By midnight, Oklahoma City received 3 inches of snow. This was enough to break a 109-year old snowfall record for Groundhog Day. The old record was 2.5 inches back in 1913. Snow will continue to fall through much of Thursday, so the record of 1 inch for Feb. 3 (also set in 1913) may be broken as well.
The number of power outages is rising in Texas. Currently, over 48,000 customers are without power across the state according to PowerOutage.US, and that number is expected to continue rising where freezing rain is falling. Even in the wake of the winter storm, very cold air is expected to affect much of the state. Although the severity and duration of the cold will not compare to last February, the increased energy demand is expected to put a further strain on the power grid into the weekend.
Rain has changed over to snow in northeastern Ohio, including Cleveland. Temperatures will continue to fall overnight, causing previously wet roads to become icy. Snow can fall moderately to heavily, and ice on roads will be hidden underneath the snow. Travel will quickly become difficult and dangerous, and motorists are advised to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. In addition, winds will increase, causing considerable blowing and drifting snow, which will rapidly reduce visibility. Rain will change to snow farther east as the night progresses, including into northwestern Pennsylvania.
Roads turned into parking lots across Illinois on Wednesday afternoon after heavy snow clogged highways, stranding motorists in their vehicles. “I’m only five blocks from home now, can’t get home, I’ve been sitting here an hour,” Dolton, Illinois, resident Priscilla Bradley said. Between 8 and 12 inches of snow accumulated in Dolton, which is just south of Chicago. Bradley said that she witnessed the same vehicle get stuck in the snow three separate times, as well as another vehicle that tried to drive around the stuck vehicle. “This is terrible,” Bradley added.
Dolton, Illinois, resident Priscilla Bradley was stuck in the snow for over an hour just miles away from her home. (Brandon Clement/WxChasing)
The first day of February felt more like the first day of April across central Texas with highs in the lower 70s F in Dallas and San Antonio. The mild weather did not last long, with teeth-chattering air sweeping across the state in conjunction with the gathering winter storm. AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures on Thursday morning will bottom out near 0 F in Dallas and in the teens around San Antonio and Austin. The heart of the Arctic intrusion will remain focused on the northern Plains with “the coldest air of the season” possible in North Dakota and Minnesota, AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz said.
The temperature across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has dropped to the freezing point, and in some cases, below 32 F. These freezing conditions combined with the rain falling across the region is causing ice to form on all outdoor surfaces, including roads and sidewalks. The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport reported the switch from rain to freezing rain at 7:20 p.m. CST Wednesday. AccuWeather National News Reporter Bill Wadell is just north of Dallas in Denton, Texas, and said that ice is already starting to coat trees.
Freezing rain will persist in Dallas throughout Wednesday night into Thursday, making all modes of travel extremely dangerous. AccuWeather is not only warning residents that roads will turn into sheets of ice, but that widespread power outages are possible as the ice accumulation weighs down tree limbs and power lines. Freezing rain is predicted to spread across central Arkansas and into western Kentucky throughout Wednesday night.
The Groundhog Day winter storm is causing travel headaches both on roads and at airports across the country. By late Wednesday afternoon, over 2,100 flights were canceled across the country, according to FlightAware. Most of the cancellations were at airports across the central U.S. impacted by snow, including Chicago O’Hare International, St. Louis Lambert International and Denver International airports. More cancellations will be possible throughout the balance of the week due to the long-duration winter storm, so people planning to fly across the country this week should check their flight status before leaving for the airport.
Many cities across the interior Northeast are experiencing a snow deficit so far this winter, but the impending storm could help boost seasonal snowfall totals closer to normal. Albany, New York, has measured just 13.8 inches of snow this winter, compared to the 32.3 inches that typically falls through Feb. 1. By this point in the winter, Burlington, Vermont, usually measures 47.3 inches of snow, but the city had only measured 31.1 inches as of Tuesday. Around a foot of snow is predicted to fall across much of the region’s interior, helping cities like Burlington and Albany inch closer to average snowfall levels.
There are currently two zones of snowy and icy conditions in the U.S., one focused on part of the Midwest and another focused on the southern Plains. The snow in northern Indiana, northwestern Ohio and southern Michigan is light, but still causing travel disruptions around Indianapolis and Detroit. Meanwhile, snow, sleet and freezing rain are focusing on southern Kansas, Oklahoma and central Texas. As of 6 p.m. CST, it was raining in Dallas, but rain is expected to switch to sleet or freezing rain early Wednesday night.
The snow has been piling up from Colorado to Indiana, with some states seeing a foot or more of snow by Wednesday evening. Colorado Springs, Colorado, recorded one of the highest snowfall totals at 22 inches — nearly 2 feet. Farther east, Akron, Indiana, recorded a foot of snow and Lewistown, Illinois recorded 14.4 inches. The snow even started to push southward into Texas. Stratford, located in the northern Texas county of Sherman, recorded 3.5 inches of snow thus far with the storm.
The temperature has been steadily dropping in Dallas throughout the day as wintry precipitation creeps closer to the city, and by 4 p.m. CST, the mercury dipped below 39 F. However, it feels even colder with an AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature of 27 F. At the same time, it was 45 F in both Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. It will continue to get colder in Dallas with temperatures predicted to drop into the lower 20s F on Wednesday night and will only reach the mid-20s on Thursday.
Winter storm watches and warnings currently stretch around 2,000 miles from San Angelo, Texas, to Caribou, Maine, but a different type of warning is starting to be issued. Ice storm warnings are in effect from eastern Arkansas through central Kentucky, where significant icing is expected. This includes Memphis, Tennessee, and Lexington, Kentucky, but the area could expand in the next 24 hours. Extensive tree damage and widespread power outages are likely in this zone, where over half an inch of ice glazes over surfaces.
Hundreds of school districts across at least seven states on Wednesday announced school closings for both Thursday and Friday due to winter storm warnings and watches, with many switching to virtual or remote instruction. From Texas, Arkansas and Missouri to Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, the states were preparing for an onslaught of bad weather. Major cities, such as Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati, were among the first districts canceling in-person classes as snow piled up while others were bracing for snow or sleet or a wintry mix. Still, other districts in the storm’s path continued to monitor forecasts closely as the weather system moves into their region. One such state was Pennsylvania, where many school districts had yet to announce a decision on school closures.
Road crews in parts of Texas are gearing up for a busy night ahead of the winter storm. North of Austin, AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell reports from Georgetown that the area is expecting a mix of freezing rain, sleet and even ice in the area — a stark contrast to the 55-degree weather Georgetown was seeing ahead of the storm. “Even though it’s mild out, officials are warning people that they need to prepare now while the weather’s cooperating,” Wadell said. While crews were working to treat roads with brine solution before the snow moved in, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stressed the need for people to stay home. “One of the most important things we can convey to you, our fellow Texans, today, is that over the coming days, the roadways could become very treacherous,” Abbott said at a briefing on Tuesday. With most of the electric generation units and transmission facilities fully weatherized, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in a news release that it is projected to have “sufficient generation to meet the high demand for electricity.”
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” is the unofficial motto of the United States Postal Service, but not every delivery service across the country is that optimistic about delivering in bad weather. On Wednesday, FedEx announced that weather-related disruptions could potentially delay deliveries. “The storm could create hazardous conditions for our team members and their safety remains our number one priority,” FedEx said in a statement. FedEx added that shipments that are delayed due to weather cannot be refunded. “FedEx cares about your safety and we encourage you to prepare for natural disasters,” the company added.
A crash involving a tractor-trailer caused Interstate 65 southbound to be closed near Lafayette, Indiana, early Wednesday afternoon. (Indiana Department of Transportation)
The southbound lane of Interstate 65 near Lafayette, Indiana, was closed briefly on Wednesday after a tractor-trailer crashed amid snowy conditions. As of early Wednesday afternoon, around 5 inches of snow have fallen in Lafayette near the area of the crash. The Indiana Department of Transportation did not indicate if there were any injuries but said that the accident had been cleared and that traffic was moving again. Motorists across the region are urged to drive slower than normal and use caution due to the snowy conditions.
Ohio and Missouri authorities are urging people to stay off the roads during the storm, but if they must venture out, they’re warning them “Don’t crowd the plow” and give salt trucks the space they need as they work on overdrive to clear the roads again and again. The Missouri State Highway Patrol brought that message home with a post on social media showing a heavily damaged vehicle that collided with a snowplow: “This is what a snowplow does to a vehicle. If you can’t stay home, please give them room to work.”
Transportation workers said drivers need the time to do their job. “With 2 to 3 inches an hour, that’s a lot of snow…Just because you go over an area, that doesn’t mean it’s black, golden pavement ... Maybe it takes 45 minutes” for trucks to do another round of plowing on any one particular route, said Jason Barthol, a highway technician with the Ohio Department of Transportation in Summit County.
Many reports of freezing rain are trickling in as this storm system delivers a messy mixed bag of snow, sleet and freezing rain. Places like Preston, Missouri, have already received 0.25 inches of freezing rain and Saint Charles on the eastern end of the state was reporting 0.15 inches, according to AccuWeather meteorologists. Data was showing other areas, like St. Louis and Oklahoma City, were measuring only a thin layer of freezing rain. But transportation officials say that’s all that’s needed to make roads instantly slick and dangerous.
Meanwhile, an ice threat was looming for parts of Texas. Freezing rain occurs when snow falls through a deep layer of warm air, melts and falls into a thin layer of freezing air. Sleet, on the other hand, results when snow only partially melts when falling through a shallow layer of warm air. The resulting slushy drops refreeze as they then fall through a deep layer of freezing air above the surface, and eventually reach the ground as frozen rain drops that bounce on impact.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency due to the presence of the cross-country winter storm. “If everything holds to where it is right now, this is the real deal,” Beshear said at a briefing on Wednesday. “It is dangerous.” He added people will need to be prepared not only to stay off the roads but to potentially be ready to deal with “this emergency” for the next several days. Officials say the ice storm may make roads difficult to impossible to travel, and the amount of ice could result in power outages for a large number of Kentuckians.
Watch the full storm briefing here:
With the wintry weather mix already barreling into the Midwest, some teachers were turning the winter storm into a science lesson of sorts. Teacher Amy Boros asked her roughly 75 middle school students in Perrysburg in northwest Ohio how much snow they think will fall from this three-day storm. So the fledgling forecasters took to the whiteboard to tally their predictions. Boros then tweeted the results Tuesday: “Making our class predictions for the upcoming winter storm in NW Ohio!” A majority of the students forecast 16-20 inches would fall from the storm.
For a time on Wednesday around 1 p.m. eastern time, the monstrous winter storm making a mess across the middle of the nation as it lurched eastward was delivering snowfall to parts of the three biggest countries on the continent of North America. Looking at the radar image below, adjust your gaze to the lower-left corner where snow could be seen falling in higher elevations in and around San Juanito, Mexico, situated in the state of Chihuahua. Snow and the type of daytime cold being experienced Wednesday in San Juanito -- a midday temperature of 34 with an AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature in the high 20s -- is rather unusual for this time of year. The average high temperature there for this time of year is 66 degrees.
One massive winter storm was the culprit behind the wintry weather, which was bringing snowfall to at least 11 U.S. states and well into Ontario, Canada. But AccuWeather meteorologists note that different systems were riding along the boundary marking much colder air to the north and milder air to the south. Just to the south of snow areas, depicted in blue on AccuWeather’s Interactive radar tool, areas of purple marked where a wintry mix was falling and pink areas indicated ice.
Chicago is no exception to the cities across the Midwest experiencing deteriorating road conditions. “Plows are doing the best they can, but there’s just so much snow out here, it’s hard for them to keep up,” AccuWeather National Reporter Emmy Victor said, standing alongside a snowy road in the city. Chicago’s Midway Airport saw 4.5 inches of snow Wednesday morning — a total that has only increased since, Victor added. While some 200 snowplows are at work clearing the roads of the city, the storm — and the snow — is not done yet.
Indiana was getting hit hard by a combination of snow, wintry mix and heavy rain on Wednesday afternoon and the state’s governor urged residents to avoid travel if possible.“We have the resources to weather this storm. What we really need is cooperation. Stay safe,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said during a Wednesday news conference, according to The Associated Press. Some roads will not be able to be treated as much as officials would like due to the rain, Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness said, according to the AP.
The AccuWeather forecast calls for 4-8 inches of snow in Indianapolis, with a trace to 0.05 of an inch of ice possible. Farther north, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is expected to receive 1-2 feet of snow. According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyssa Smithmyer, “the city’s airport would need to pick up more than 13.6 inches to surpass the fifth-heaviest snowstorm on record. The last time that Fort Wayne, located about two hours northeast of Indianapolis, was buried by more than a foot of snow was 49 years ago in December of 1973. Fort Wayne is currently forecast to receive 10-15 inches of snow.”
Snow-covered highways were making for some treacherous driving conditions in Missouri as well, with multiple accidents and a jack-knifed tractor-trailer shutting down portions of Interstate 70 in both directions in Columbia and west of the city in Boone County, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation. Officials said semis were having trouble climbing the slick hills in several spots. Crashes were reported westbound near mile marker 124, at least one vehicle spun out at mile marker 131, and the disabled truck was eastbound near marker 122, officials said.
Numerous crashes were reported across Illinois by late Wednesday morning amid the wintry weather. Crashes on both sides of Interstate 55 in McLean and Livingston counties led to a closure of the northbound lane around milepost 188, near Chenoa and the Livingston County line, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). There were also a few reports of jackknifed semis on I-74 at US 51 south of Bloomington. In La Salle County, numerous semi-trailer trucks and cars were stuck in ditches and in the cable barrier on I-80 between mileposts 90 to 97 late Wednesday morning amid the snowy conditions, according to the IDOT. Shortly before noon, the IDOT reported multiple jackknifed semis were blocking all lanes of westbound Interstate 74 between Farmer City and Mansfield.
On the latest edition of AccuWeather’s Weather Insider podcast, AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno and AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologist Jessica Pash talk about the ongoing winter storm in the Central U.S. They break down some of the biggest snow reports so far, and also look ahead to the storm’s impacts in the Northeast, including which areas are in store for some ice. Listen to the episode below.
In Texas, residents are wondering how this winter storm and an associated cold snap will compare to the historic freeze of 2021. While it still could challenge the power grid, the magnitude of this cold blast will not be nearly as severe. This shot of cold air will clear after only three days, while the cold snap of 2021 lasted a week. Temperatures will be 20 to 30 degrees below average at worst, compared to 35 to 45 degrees below average in 2021. Instead of Dallas having three nights below 10 degrees, it is forecast to drop to the mid-teens for only two nights.
The winter storm is making its presence felt across the Chicago area, causing flights to be canceled and covering major roadways in snow. Snow rates of 1 inch per hour or more were being reported across northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. Around 4.4 inches of snow has fallen so far at Chicago O’Hare International Airport while about 4.2 inches has been measured at the city’s Midway Airport. AccuWeather meteorologists say the Windy City could receive up to 8 inches by the time the storm is done in the area Wednesday night.
Motorists navigate the northbound, left, and southbound lanes of Interstate 90 during a snowy morning, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Chicago. A major winter storm with millions of Americans in its path brought a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow to the middle section of the United States as airlines canceled hundreds of flights, governors urged residents to stay off roads and schools closed campuses.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
More than 1,400 flights have been canceled Wednesday as the United States braces for a major winter storm, according to FlightAware.com. By Wednesday morning, the majority of the flights canceled came from Chicago O’Hare International Airport and St. Louis Lambert International Airport. As the winter storm is expected to move eastward across the U.S. throughout Wednesday and Thursday, more than 1,600 flights have been canceled for Thursday.
This camera from the Colorado Department of Transportation caught this car sliding out of control and almost colliding with an oncoming semi on Interstate 25 in Thornton, Colorado, on Feb. 1.
Snow started falling Tuesday night into Wednesday morning in Colorado. By Wednesday morning, the highest snowfall total was in Colorado Springs with a total of 22.0 inches. The U.S. Air Force Academy recorded 12.0 inches of snow Wednesday morning. The Air Force Academy wrote on Twitter that it will be closed and 100% of remote classes were to begin at 9 a.m. MDT.
Elsewhere, Boulder, Colorado, picked up 8.1 inches of snow Wednesday morning. Snow removal crews were out early Wednesday morning removing snow from sidewalks and streets, according to Darius Johnson, a journalist for 9News Denver. Johnson also shared a video of the snow-covered roadways, urging that “4-wheel drive is needed.” Snow will continue to fall through Wednesday, likely adding to these totals.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency as a winter storm is expected to affect the state through Friday. The executive order temporarily suspends requirements for size and weight permits of oversized vehicles that are transporting emergency relief and power restoration materials. The order is in effect for seven days, but it may be extended for additional days if conditions warrant. Gov. Stitt took to Twitter last night sharing that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has 123,000 tons of salt and sand and more than 500 trucks statewide to respond to the storm. All 77 counties in Oklahoma are under a winter storm watch or advisory.
As areas from Texas to Maine brace for snow and ice, residents across the Gulf Coast and Tennessee Valley face a different threat from the strengthening storm. An infusion of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will fuel heavy rain on the southern side of the storm with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 10 inches. Isolated severe weather could also occur in this zone, including tornadoes and gusty winds.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) started to pretreat roads on Tuesday ahead of the impending Groundhog Day storm. More crews will take to the roads on Wednesday to coat the highways with a brine solution before the first snowflake falls. “Beginning Wednesday, maintenance crews will be shifting to 24-hour shifts so we can respond quickly if needed,” the TXDOT office in Tyler, Texas, said. Motorists that see a truck on the highway applying the treatment should keep their distance.
The Texas Department of Transportation started to treat roads across the state on Tuesday ahead of the impending winter storm. (TXDOT)
The gathering storm is already spreading some wintry precipitation across the central U.S. with light snow falling in northeastern Kansas, northern Missouri and central Illinois. Light snow is also picking up along the Front Range in Colorado, including Denver. Around an inch or two has already piled up around Denver, while little to no accumulation has occurred farther east. The areas of snow are forecast to expand throughout Tuesday night into Wednesday as the far-reaching storm strengthens.
A snapshot of the weather radar early Tuesday night showed snow (blue) rain (green) and a wintry mix (pink) falling across the central U.S. (AccuWeather)
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency in the state on Tuesday afternoon, activating the Missouri National Guard ahead of the winter storm forecast to bring significant snow, sleet and ice to the state. "Severe weather isn't something we are strangers to here in the State of Missouri, but we must be prepared for the worst," Parson said in a press release. "By signing this Order, we enable our emergency management professionals to have every tool and resource available to aid Missourians, protect lives, and respond to this winter storm." He added encouragement for all Missourians to take precautions to avoid hazardous road conditions and keep themselves and their families safe. Nearly the entire state was under a winter storm warning Tuesday evening.
Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker issued a disaster declaration on Tuesday afternoon and activated 130 members of the state’s National Guard ahead of the arrival of a significant winter storm. “I encourage everyone to do what you can to stay safe: listen to local authorities to stay up to date with the latest conditions in your community and make sure your household has essentials,“ Pritzker said in a press release. Nearly the entire state is under a winter storm warning, with over a foot of snow predicted to fall across central Illinois.
The threat of ice accumulation from the impending storm will stretch from Texas into the Northeast, contributing to life-threatening scenarios from slick roadways and sidewalks to widespread power outages. The threat of downed power lines will increase substantially with ice accretions upwards of 0.25 of an inch, according to AccuWeather forecasters. Ice accumulations greater than 0.50 of an inch are possible across some locations with this storm.
Experiencing a power outage during a fierce winter storm can be far worse than a mere inconvenience – it could prove life-threatening. Knowing how to prepare ahead of time is crucial, here are a few things to check and stock up on.
• Know how to stay warm: When you can’t turn the heat on, use towels and blankets to block drafts and keep the cold out. Windows can be insulated with black blankets to draw heat from the sun, while running hot water can also draw heat into the house. To keep pipes from freezing, turn faucets to a trickle and open cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate.
• Avoid carbon monoxide dangers: Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious hazard during power outages, as generators located near doors, windows and vents can allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Make sure generators are properly ventilated and carbon monoxide detectors are installed.
• Stock up on non-perishables: It is best to maintain a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food during the winter months, with items such as fruit bars, peanut butter, nuts and trail mix making for great stockpile items. Batteries, flashlights and a radio are also crucial supplies.
• Stay inside: Don’t take risks on the road during a winter storm. Along with the hazardous road conditions of snow and ice, downed power lines can also lead to traffic accidents. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supply kit in your car and avoid traveling alone. Read more tips here.
Part of the danger posed by snowstorms stems from the life-threatening combination of weather-prompted power outages and subzero temperatures, and this impending snowstorm will be no exception. Widespread risk of power outages from the impending snowstorm will span from northeastern Texas to western Pennsylvania — concentrated heavily in areas predicted to pick up ice accumulation and heavy snow. Wind gusts that develop in the wake of the storm may also lead to further tree and power line damage.
From Tuesday into late Friday, the heaviest snow is forecast to accumulate across parts of the Midwest to the far northern tier of the Northeast. This includes central Missouri to north-central Illinois, northern Indiana, southeastern Michigan, far northwestern Ohio and northern New York. Unlike the last snowstorm, a majority of areas along the Eastern Seaboard aren’t forecast to get excessive snowfall totals, if any. Cities including Columbia, Missouri, and Peoria, Illinois, are likely to receive a foot or more of snow. Others such as Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Toledo, Ohio, could get a foot or more of snow.
Winter weather alerts stretched over 2,000 miles across the U.S. by Feb. 1 ahead of a major winter storm poised to deliver potentially dangerous impacts ranging from heavy snow, ice and even some severe thunderstorms. Winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings and winter storm watches stretched from New Mexico to Vermont on Tuesday afternoon, including at least 90 million people in its path, according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter. However, even those outside of the storm's path may feel the impacts of the far-reaching storm as weather conditions may slow down or even stop a few trucks from transporting goods through parts of the central U.S. for a few days this week, Porter added.
A snapshot of weather alerts prompted by the far-reaching winter storm as of Feb. 1, 2:15 p.m. EST. The dark blue alerts represent winter storm warnings, the light blue winter storm watches and the grey winter weather advisories.
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