50 million under winter weather warnings and alerts; Texas prepares for snow days

50 million under winter weather warnings and alerts; Texas prepares for snow days

Fifty million Americans underwent a winter weather watch and advisory on Monday amid warnings of a "prolonged and potentially significant ice event" affecting at least 15 states.

A wide swath of the nation from Texas to Ohio and Tennessee was bracing Monday for days of treacherous travel conditions as an Arctic cold front swept across the Southern Plains and South-Central.

"The interaction between Arctic air mass and moisture will set the stage for a vast area of hazardous travel conditions early in the week," said National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Snell. "Accumulations of freezing rain and sleet are likely to create hazardous travel conditions on a large scale for several days in a row."

Glacier developments:

Freezing rain totals could become significant across central Texas, southwestern Oklahoma, and central Arkansas.

Three days of snow accumulation could exceed half an inch over central Texas and Arkansas. Parts of Tennessee could see more than a quarter inch of ice.

The weather service warned that scattered tree damage and power outages are possible in addition to potentially hazardous travel conditions.

Heavy snow falls in the West and the Great Lakes

Heavy snow was forecast for parts of the western Colorado mountains. Travel can be challenging at times for some of the highest mountains passes. Farther east, lake-shaped snow is likely downwind of the Great Lakes early this week. Heavier volumes over 6 inches are possible off Lake Superior and Lake Erie.

Snow was falling at a lower level than usual in the mountains of Southern California. It was snowing Monday on Interstate 5 in Grapevine. The weather service said traffic was constrained on the highway due to the hazardous conditions.

The weather service said low snow levels would likely cause travel problems on Monday on Interstate 14 and other major thoroughfares in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

The cold front will sweep east

There could be periods of light snowfall across the inland Northeast and mid-Atlantic as a cold front pushes in by Tuesday. Then the region faces several days of well-below-average temperatures: Washington, D.C., will see a 15-degree drop on Saturday; Philadelphia will drop to -10 degrees, and Boston has -6 degrees below zero to look forward to this weekend.

The Dallas-Fort Worth storm warning continues through Wednesday.

A Winter Storm Warning is in place in the Dallas-Fort Worth area until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The weather service said mixed precipitation, primarily in sleet, was expected. The weather service said "significant impacts" on travel could begin early Monday afternoon and last through Tuesday night. Elevated surfaces such as bridges and flyovers will be the first to become icy, slick, and dangerous as temperatures hover around or below freezing.

"Those in hardest-hit areas should consider completing their last-minute travel plans before noon today," the San Antonio Bureau of Meteorology said. "Icy roads could deteriorate rapidly this afternoon."

Extreme cold blasts the Midwest, Northwest

The weather service said the cold air responsible for forecasting ice in the mid-South also led to a cold start to the work week across the central United States and some western states. Temperatures were about 20 to 30 degrees below average in some areas experiencing high single-digit temperatures from the central high plains to the upper Midwest on Monday.

"The gusty winds will create dangerous wind chills of -55 degrees below zero in the northern plains this morning," the Met Office said.

Wind hail warnings and advisories have been issued from Oregon to Wisconsin.

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