NEWS

Midwest, eastern U.S. brace for Arctic blast

01/04/2015 09:07 EST | Updated 03/06/2015 05:59 EST
The Midwest and eastern parts of the U.S. on Sunday braced for Arctic temperatures that were expected to arrive during the next few days.

A mix of precipitation on Saturday that included snow, ice and rain affected a swath from the Oklahoma Panhandle — where several centimetres of snow were in the forecast — to southern New England, where up to 6 mm of ice is possible in the eastern Berkshires.

Freezing rain and ice factored into numerous accidents in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio and threatened an outdoor hockey game in Toledo.

And parts of the southern U.S. saw heavy rain and thunderstorms, leading the U.S. National Weather Service to issue tornado watches and warnings in Mississippi and Louisiana and a flash flood watch for portions of Arkansas.

The weather service reported at least two confirmed tornadoes in Mississippi. Greg Flynn of Mississippi's Emergency Management Agency said homes were damaged in several counties, power lines were downed and there were reports of flooding.

"Thankfully, in all of this, there are no injuries reported anywhere," Flynn said.

Blowing snow in Colorado

Meanwhile, blowing and drifting snow was a problem in the northeast Colorado plains, while a blizzard warning was issued for northern North Dakota and Minnesota. Winds between 40 to 60 km/h blew snow that fell overnight in the Red River Valley, weather service meteorologist Tom Grafenauer said.

That area will be the first to feel the effects of a strong cold front, he said, with temperatures reaching –28 C and wind chills approaching –45 by Sunday morning.

By Tuesday, parts of the Midwest and east coast will see temperatures in the minus teens. The chilly weather is even expected to move as far south as New Orleans.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of the private Weather Bell Analytics has called it "old-timer's type of cold."

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