109 million under winter weather alerts as US faces 'enormous' storm

109 million under winter weather alerts as US faces 'enormous' storm

More than 109 million people are under winter rain alerts, and more than 3.6 million are under cold temperature alerts as the United States faces its second-largest winter storm in a week. Compared to the New England blizzard last weekend.

The latest: About a third of the 48 continental states feel the impact, with temperatures dropping 20 to 40 degrees under average in some areas. It will hit more places like Ohio Valley, where snow roads and power outages could lead to power.

According to flight-tracking platform Flight aware, more than 3,600 flights were canceled on Wednesday.

According to the NWS, the "Big Winter Storm" affecting states from Colorado to Vermont began surging across much of the central US overnight. The NWS said that heavy snow fell in the Rockies before traveling through the Plains and the Midwest through Wednesday.

During Wednesday, cold air flowing southward near the surface (cooler air is denser and heavier than warm air) changed rain to sleet and sleet in the Dallas Fort. Worth metroplex, causing dangerous driving conditions and disrupting air travel at a central American Airlines hub.

The NWS reports that temperatures will be between 20 and 40 degrees below average over parts of the Plains and the Mississippi Valley over the next few days and into the weekend.

By Friday morning, temperatures in the Texas Panhandle are expected to be in the single digits. Heavy ice accumulation is expected from Arkansas through the Ohio River Valley.

The storm will then push to the northeast, where people are still recovering from last week's historic snowstorm. 

Threat level: Across a wide area, from Dallas east to Arkansas and northeast to Kentucky, enough snow could build up on trees and power lines between Wednesday afternoon and Friday afternoon to cause widespread blackouts and tree damage.

The National Weather Service's Paducah, Kentucky office warned that "travel may be impossible."

The risk of losing strength is increasing with this storm as frigid conditions are expected to persist for several days after the ice stops accumulating, the NWS Weather Forecasting Center said.

Meanwhile, in Dakota, where the cold-core is entering the United States for the first time, air temperatures may dip to -35 degrees Fahrenheit Thursday morning, with wind chills reaching -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

What they're saying: "The public is encouraged to plan now for dangerous winter weather conditions for extended periods and travel disruption," the NWS said in its short-term forecast.

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