Forecasters are predicting that a winter storm sweeping the United States could bring the coldest Christmas in four decades to parts of the country. It is being described as a “once-in-a-generation” arctic blast that will apparently become in some places, a “bomb cyclone” by the end of the week.
Approaching four fifths of the country is set to experience sub-zero temperatures and remarkably, that could also include the normally warmer states like Texas and even Florida.
Elliot making its way across the country
The storm, which has been named “Storm Elliot”, and began in the Pacific Northwest on 20 December, has made its way east, putting upwards of 90 million people under winter weather alerts, covering 37 of the states.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said unbelievably low temperatures were possible by the end of this week in some parts, and the added wind chills could lead to people suffering frostbite, so were urging people to take proper precautions.
Fatalities could result from extreme low temperatures
If exposed to the cold temperatures for prolonged periods of time, it could very easily result in hypothermia and death was the “chilling” warning, as the NWS labelled the storm a “once-in-a-generation” winter weather event. They added that it would particularly be the case when it reaches the Great Lakes region, where its pressure is expected to reach the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.
Travel chaos predicted
Snowy conditions and freezing roadways are expected to wreak travel chaos for the rest of the week heading into the festive weekend. Flights are already being cancelled and the American Auto-mobile Association estimated that more than 112 million people will attempt to travel 50 miles or more, from their homes, between Friday 23 December and 2 January.
Bomb cyclones have incredible power
Bomb cyclone is a term given to a rapidly strengthening storm, named as such due to the explosive power caused by the rapid fall in pressure. They bring weather ranging from blizzards and severe thunderstorms, to heavy precipitation.
People are advised to be prepared for at least 72 hours of being unable to leave their homes and stock up on food, water, and essential medications. Emergency heat source such as a properly ventilated generator and a functional carbon monoxide detector, are also suggested as back-ups wherever possible.
Roads could become impassable
Roads are expected to be too dangerous to drive in, experts are saying, but if it is essential to travel drivers should stock their car with a full tank of fuel, as well as an emergency supply kit containing warm clothing, a mobile phone charger, jumper leads, and a first aid kit; as well as salt, a snow shovel and snow brush, in case of being caught in a snow drift.
So much for family reunions
After all of the Covid restrictions, many were looking forward to their first Christmas with family for three years, but this weather situation could cause any plans to be completely ruined.