Severe Weather

Weather tracker: More than 70 million people under cold weather alerts in US

user avatar Author: Editors Desk
January 19, 2024 at 07:15
Snow blankets the White House in Washington DC. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Snow blankets the White House in Washington DC. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

At least 27 die in weather-related circumstances in Pacific north-west as freezing temperatures, sleet and snow hit several states

Alice Fowle and James Parrish for MetDesk

More than 70 million people across the US were put under winter weather alerts this past week, from Oregon to Maine. Temperatures fell to -45C in some areas, and the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a wind chill warning across parts of Texas through last weekend, with warnings of hypothermia and frostbite from wind chills of -32C.

Additionally, nearly 10in (25cm) of snow fell across parts of Iowa, and other states across the midwest received six to 10in of snow last weekend.

A further winter storm across the Pacific north-west is also thought to have played a part in the deaths of at least 27 people this week owing to hypothermia and car crashes on frozen roads.

Weather advisories were implemented on Thursday across the midwest and much of the eastern US as further winter storms will bring snowfall and freezing temperatures until the early part of this weekend.

According to the NWS, parts of West Virginia are expected to receive between 8in and 12in of snow, along with gusty winds that will make much travel near impossible.

Earlier this week, Cyclone Belal affected parts of the south-west Indian Ocean, including Réunion and Mauritius. Belal made landfall over north-western Réunion in the morning of 15 January, with sustained winds of 105mph (170 kph) and gusts up to 155mph.

Mauritius was then hit by strong winds, torrential rain, and flooding as Belal’s centre passed south of the island. Authorities in Réunion issued the highest storm alert, with a quarter of households left with no electricity and thousands without water. Both international airports in Réunion and Mauritius were forced to close.

A spell of wintry precipitation took a hold on northern parts of France, bringing outbreaks of rain, sleet, snow and freezing rain, which turned the Place Stanislas in Nancy into a sheet of ice on Wednesday morning. Farther north, 5-6cm of snow was recorded near Lille by Wednesday afternoon. Subsequent meltwater led to the French national weather service issuing a flooding warning in some northern parts of France.

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