As predicted, Winter Storm Landon™ is making life and travel miserable for Americans in a dozen states as it delivers ice, snow, and bitter cold across much of the eastern half of the United States.
The National Weather Service on Thursday morning predicted heavy snow and freezing rain would drop on states from Texas to parts of New England over the course of the storm, which is expected to last through Friday night. It also warned residents in the South of potential flash flooding. The result of the storm so far has left at least 246,000 people without power across multiple states, according to Poweroutages.us, and millions dealing with dangerous road conditions.
“A damaging ice storm is currently underway from eastern Arkansas to western Kentucky, where over a half-inch of ice may accumulate by Friday morning. This will likely result in power outages, tree damage, and dangerous travel conditions,” NWS said early Thursday. “A broader corridor of heavy ice accumulation is likely from Texas through the Ohio River Valley. Heavy snow totals are expected over the Southern Rockies and from the south-central Great Plains through the eastern Great Lakes and interior Northeast by Saturday morning.”
The Dallas Fort Worth airport in Texas had to shut down this morning, canceling more than 500 American Airline flights. Thousands of other flights have been canceled and thousands of other flights have been delayed across multiple airports and airlines due to the winter storm, according to NBC.
Also in Texas, more than 71,000 people were without power, as of Thursday morning. That number dropped to just over 50,000 by midday. The outages are not nearly as bad as the rolling blackouts that hit the state a year ago when a prolonged cold snap left hundreds dead due to the state’s electric grid failures. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had previously guaranteed “the lights will stay on” this year, but broke that promise earlier this week as the winter storm approached.
Amtrak, meanwhile, has canceled train service on at least 10 routes, most of which go to or from Chicago, where residents saw as much as 10 inches of snow in some areas.
Drivers are going through it as the winter storm brings dangerous icy conditions to roads. Parts of Interstate 70 in Missouri had to shut down due to the accumulation of snow, and the slick conditions caused several crashes along Interstate 55 in Illinois. In anticipation of dangerous conditions, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency and encouraged state residents to avoid leaving their homes. State offices are closed for today across the state and members of the National Guard and Kentucky State Police are expected to be near major roadways to respond to any accidents caused by the incoming storm.
Earlier this week storm watch warnings were in effect in more than 1,000 miles of the U.S., extending diagonally northeast from Colorado Springs, Colorado, all the way across the country to Detroit. The storm is the result of a cold front that moved into the Midwest; backed by subzero Arctic air, it met the jet stream moving south, setting up the right conditions for winter weather like rain, sleet, and snow.
In addition to the dangerous snow and ice, the storm offers a “Slight Risk” of heavy rain in the central Gulf Coast, Tennesee Valley, and Southeast regions, NWS said, adding: “The heavy rain will create localized areas of flash flooding, with urban areas, roads, and small streams the most vulnerable. Widely scattered strong to severe thunderstorms, capable of damaging wind gusts and a couple of tornadoes, are possible today from southern Mississippi into parts of central Alabama.”
Update 2:25pm ET: Updated power outage numbers.