'EVERY State in US' Under NWS' Watchful Eye This Weekend

Brutal cold, storms threaten Iowa caucus, NFL playoffs in Buffalo and Kansas City
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 13, 2024 6:30 AM CST
Brutal Cold, Storms Threaten to Mar Caucus, NFL Playoffs
Snow blows near Merrill, Iowa, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Brutally cold weather could prove a deadly challenge Saturday amid a continuing wave of Arctic storms that have hammered much of the country with blinding snow, freezing rain, and whipping winds. Governors from New York to Louisiana declared states of emergency ahead of predicted snow and bone-chilling temperatures. In St. Louis, the National Weather Service warned of rare and "life-threatening" cold, per the AP. The fierce weather blitzed campaign schedules in Iowa, the leadoff GOP caucus state. With a blizzard warning covering most of the state, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, and former President Donald Trump all shuffled their schedules ahead of Monday's presidential vote.

Near-record cold in Kansas City will make for a frigid NFL playoff game Saturday night, when the Chiefs host Miami. Fans will be allowed to bring in blankets, and first-aid stations were set up at Arrowhead Stadium. On Sunday, fans in Buffalo will contend with up to a foot of snow and fierce winds as the Bills host Pittsburgh. The National Weather Service on Friday warned that a powerful storm would rock the Midwest to the Great Lakes through Saturday, with heavy snow, strong winds, and blizzards. Dangerously frigid weather would follow across the Rockies and the Plains, while heavy rain across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic would threaten river and coastal flooding. Some areas of the Northeast had flooding concerns. Emergency responders helped evacuate some residents from their homes in Paterson, New Jersey, early Friday as the Passaic River started overflowing its banks.

The new storm, combined with an earlier one, created flooding worries in Maine and New Hampshire, too. It was minus 11 degrees Fahrenheit in Bismarck, North Dakota, on Friday morning, and forecasters warned the weekend could see temperatures reach 20 below by early Sunday. Meanwhile, black ice from freezing rain caused wrecks and brought Kansas City, Missouri, to a standstill. Chicago was expecting several inches of snow through the weekend, with wind gusts to 50mph and wind chills as low as minus 15. The South wasn't immune to winter's wrath. Severe storms with winds reaching 70mph stretched across Mississippi on Friday. The governors of Arkansas and Louisiana declared states of emergency Friday in anticipation of stormy and frigid weather, with temperatures plunging to subfreezing in New Orleans by next week.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, meanwhile, urged Texans to get ready for a chill with ice on the way Monday. In the county that includes Portland, Oregon, which is more used to wintry rain than ice and snow, officials declared a weather emergency and opened severe-weather shelters for the homeless. In California, a warning of high avalanche danger was issued for parts of the Sierra Nevada, including the Lake Tahoe area, where an avalanche at a ski resort killed one man on Wednesday. The same was true in Idaho, where a man was presumed dead in an avalanche Thursday. In short, the weather won't spare any part of the nation this weekend, forecasters said. "EVERY state in the US has an active NWS watch, warning, or advisory," the NWS announced Friday as it posted a color-coded map that showed portions of states under threat from storms, winds, floods, blizzards, and avalanches. More here.

(More winter storm stories.)

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