About 75 million Americans from coast-to-coast are under winter weather alerts. Across the U.S., the massive storm has brought heavy snow and strong winds.
The National Weather Service describes the storm’s reach as “massive” and warns it will affect every region of the Lower 48 states with winter weather, severe thunderstorms, or extreme temperatures.
The widespread winter weather is the result of a “large arctic air mass” that swooped into the U.S. from Canada.
A fierce winter storm has caused widespread disruptions across the nation, while south-eastern parts of the country brace for record-high temperatures.
Two distinct low-pressure areas will cross the country through the end of this week, bringing rain and snow to California, including a rare low-elevation snow event for some.
Mountains above Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties in Southern California were under a blizzard warning, which is unusual for the area. It marks the first time that a blizzard warning was issued for the area since 1989.
The storm has already knocked out power in parts of California and closed interstate highways in states like Arizona and Wyoming. It comes as some areas could see as much as two feet of snow today.
Airlines have canceled more than 1,600 flights across the country amid concerns about severe weather.
“This is shaping up to be a very unusual event,” climate scientist Daniel Swain said in a virtual briefing on Tuesday morning, noting that low-elevation snow will stretch from “the Oregon border to the Mexican border – it’s just a question of how low”.
Meanwhile, much of the south is basking in unusually high temperatures for this time of year. On Wednesday, McAllen, Texas, recorded a sweltering 95 F.
June-like air temperatures were taking over the Southeast Wednesday, with records likely to fall in Florida and along the Gulf Coast.
The warmth will surge into the Mid-Atlantic Thursday, likely shattering longstanding milestones.
The heat on Wednesday in Lexington, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, broke records stretching back more than a century. It comes in the midst of one of the warmest and least snowy meteorological winter seasons on record from D.C. to Boston.