Nearly 110 million people were under wind chill advisories or warnings, as of Sunday afternoon, as much of the country prepares for freezing temperatures and wind chills as a result of an Arctic blast approaching from the north.
The National Weather Service (NWS) warned of “dangerously cold wind chills” and of temperatures about 25 to 40 degrees below average from the Northern Rockies to the Plains, Middle Mississippi Valley, and Ohio Valley.
The blast is expected to bring snow downwind from the Lower Great Lakes and will bring snow from parts of the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Northeast, the NWS said in its forecast, also warning of freezing rain over parts of the Southern Plains to the Southern Appalachians.
There were 109.13 million people under wind chill advisories or warnings as of Sunday afternoon, according to the NWS.
For those under a wind chill warning, the NWS warns that just 10 minutes outside could cause frostbite on exposed skin. A wind chill advisory means frostbite could develop after 20 minutes.
The NWS, in its wind chill warning, tells people to “avoid outside activities if possible,” but, in its advisory, the NWS instructs people to “use caution while traveling outside. Wear appropriate clothing, a hat, and gloves. Limit the amount of time pets stay outdoors and ensure livestock have a warm place to reside.”
Wind chills will drop to 30 degrees below zero from the Northern Rockies to northern Kansas and Iowa. From Montana across the western Dakotas, the wind chills will drop to 50 degrees below zero.
Later this week, parts of the Midwest will still experience “near-record, dangerously low temperatures and wind chills,” and the Deep South might also get subfreezing temperatures later this week.
“Sub-zero wind chills will affect much of the U.S. and reach into portions of the South,” the NWS said. “These wind chills will pose a risk of frostbite on exposed skin and hypothermia. Have a cold survival kit if you must travel.”
Snow, sleet and freezing rain are likely to continue east “from the Southern Plains, through the ArkLaTex, and into the Tennessee Valley” into Monday. The NWS also said several inches of snow are likely from Arkansas through Tennessee into the Southern Appalachians. Ice is expected in parts of Texas through the Lower Mississippi Valley, into parts of the Tennessee Valley and Southern Appalachians, the NWS said.
The cold air, with the high pressure, might generate heavy snow downwind of the Great Lakes, especially in parts of northern Michigan and western and northern New York.
The combination of different conditions will have dangerous effects on the roads and travel conditions.
“With arctic air in place, impacts from wintry weather may last several days, resulting in a prolonged period of hazardous travel across some areas,” the NWS warned.