Sunday, April 21, 2024

Heavy Snow and Power Outages Expected as Winter Blast Hits Colorado to Minnesota(ht)

HomeU.S.Heavy Snow and Power Outages Expected as Winter Blast Hits Colorado to...

A potent winter storm is barreling through the nation’s midsection, blanketing a swath from Colorado to Minnesota with heavy snow and life-threatening blizzard conditions. The powerful system kicked into high gear Sunday night, and meteorologists warn the worst impacts are yet to come for millions of residents.

“We’re looking at a high-impact winter storm that will bring considerable snow, blowing snow, and bitterly cold wind chills to a large portion of the Central and Northern Plains,” warned the Weather Prediction Center. “Travel will become impossible and life-threatening across portions of the region.”

Colorado In Crosshairs First

The initial punch from the intensifying storm arrived in Colorado Sunday evening. Denver saw its biggest late-season snowfall in nearly a decade, with over 20 inches of powder piling up across the metro area by Monday morning. Winds gusted over 50 mph, reducing visibility to near zero at times.

“This is some of the heaviest snow we’ve had in a very long time for March,” said Denver resident Marcus Hernandez. “It shows Mother Nature is still packing a punch even as we near Spring.”

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As the slow-moving low crept into Nebraska and South Dakota overnight, blizzard warnings went into effect across an area home to nearly 4 million people. Heavy snow combined with winds frequently topping 40 mph to create whiteout conditions that made travel extraordinarily treacherous if not impossible. Over a foot of snow has already fallen across many locations, with more heavy snow on the way through Tuesday.

Dangerous, Life-Threatening Storm

“This is a dangerous, life-threatening situation setting up across the region with blinding snow and high winds,” said Mike Massery, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. “People need to avoid any unnecessary travel and stay safe at home until this extreme winter weather passes.”

Portions of Interstate highways 80, 90, and 94 were closed due to the treacherous travel conditions. Over 1,500 flights were canceled at major Midwest airport hubs like Denver, Minneapolis, and Chicago’s O’Hare as the storm system ramped up.

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While snowfall amounts of 1-2 feet will be problematic enough, the real danger comes from the high winds creating zero-visibility in heavy blowing snow. Wind gusts could frequently exceed 50 mph, especially across the wide open spaces of the Great Plains from Nebraska through the Dakotas.

Power Outages and Damage Likely

On top of the paralyzing snowfall and blizzard conditions, forecasters warn this storm could pack enough precipitation and strong winds to cause widespread power outages from downed tree limbs and power lines. Over 150,000 customers were already without electricity early Monday as heavy wet snow and ice accumulated across Colorado and Kansas.

The National Weather Service has issued Blizzard Warnings from Colorado to Minnesota where winds are expected to remain high for an extended period. Minneapolis, one of the largest metro areas in the path of this winter fury, could see over 2 feet of snow along with potential power outages before the storm finally pushes northeastward into Canada by Wednesday.

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While winter storms are not uncommon across America’s Heartland, a blizzard of this magnitude hitting so late in the season is relatively rare. The extreme nature of the precipitation and high winds from this powerhouse cyclone has meteorologists urging people to take it seriously and avoid all unnecessary travel until the danger passes.

“This will be a historic, high-impact event for a huge area,” said Greg Murdoch, a meteorologist at the Twin Cities National Weather Service office. “It’s not something you want to get caught outside in unprepared.”

As the storm intensifies Monday night into Tuesday from the Dakotas into Minnesota and Wisconsin, blizzard conditions will persist with life-threatening wind chills pushing below -30°F in many areas. The storm is then forecast to finally begin winding down Tuesday night as it crashes into Ontario and Quebec.

HT

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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