Brutally cold weather expected to hit south and north-east US

20 January 2024, 08:14

Bad weather in Kansas
Pictures of the Week-North America-Photo Gallery. Picture: PA

Temperatures of minus 34C have been forecast in some areas.

Warnings have been issued throughout the US as brutally cold conditions continue to sweep across parts of the country.

Frigid air spilled into the US Midwest from Canada on Friday, with several states under advisories as forecasters warned that wind chills as low as minus 34C could be common until Sunday morning.

The US National Weather Service predicts temperatures could drop as low as minus 26C in large portions of Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and Kansas.

The frigid weekend weather follows two weeks of storms blamed for at least 55 deaths around America.

Tennessee recorded 19 deaths alone. They included a 25-year-old man who was found dead on the floor of a mobile home in Lewisburg after a space heater overturned and turned off, said Bob Johnson, chief deputy for the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.

Days of cold broke so many water mains in Memphis, Tennessee, that water pressure fell throughout the city. On Friday, Memphis Light, Gas and Water urged all of its more than 400,000 residents to boil water for drinking and teeth brushing or use bottled supplies.

It is not clear how long the water advisory will be in force. While some 50 ruptures were repaired, utility president Doug McGowen warned of new leaks emerging.

Winter weather in Philadelphia
The snowy conditions are expected to last until at least Sunday (Tyger Williams/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

A significant drop in blood donations, partly linked to the weather, led Blood Assurance to recommend that more than 70 hospitals in five states halt elective surgeries until Wednesday to allow the inventory to be rebuilt by the organisation based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In West Virginia, advisories and warnings were issued on Saturday because of continued fierce weather. The weather service said some regions could see up to 4in of additional snow with winds gusting to 40mph and wind chill driving down temperatures as low as minus 29C.

In Washington DC, snow fell softly and the streets around the US Capitol were silent.

Schools closed for the second time in a week and the federal government was on a two-hour delay.

However, President Joe Biden still welcomed mayors from around the country to the White House for the US Conference of Mayors.

A child makes a snow angel
Five-year-old Arlo Dalili makes a snow angels in the fresh snow at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia (Tyger Williams/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

In Buffalo, New York, snow finally reduced after burying parts of the city and some suburbs in 5ft of snow in five days. On Friday, NFL team the Buffalo Bills renewed a call for snow shovellers, offering 20 dollars (£15) an hour for help digging out Highmark Stadium before Sunday’s divisional play-off game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Michigan City, Indiana, received 17in of snow on Friday. The snow later eased as a low pressure system moved away but the weather service warned that “much colder air wraps in behind it”, and urged drivers to watch out for patches of slick and treacherous black ice.

On the West Coast, Oregon governor Tina Kotek declared a state-wide emergency following deadly ice storms. The weather service reported that temperatures on Friday were finally above freezing for most areas and ground snow and ice would slowly begin to melt.

White House in the snow
A worker removes snow from the White House driveway in Washington, DC (AP)

More freezing rain was forecast for Saturday in the Columbia River Gorge and the area was expected to remain near or below freezing until at least Sunday night. Trees and power lines already coated with ice could topple if they get more, the National Weather Service warned.

Thousands have been without power since last weekend in parts of Oregon’s Willamette Valley because of storm damage. Despite work by repair crews, more than 63,000 customers were without electricity in the state as of Friday night, according to the website poweroutage.us.

The US National Weather Service said there could be a thaw next week, when the forecast calls for above-average temperatures across almost the whole country.

By Press Association

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