As tens of thousands remain without power in Texas on Thursday amid frigid temperatures and icy roads, the Northeast is bracing for a blast of extremely cold air that can feel well below zero.
Texas has been impacted by a dangerous ice storm that dumped several rounds of hail and freezing rain, causing life-threatening road conditions in neighboring states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas and the Memphis, Tennessee area.
On Wednesday, Texas said a third person died during the storm after losing control of his truck on an icy road north of Eldorado. One person was killed in Austin in a 10-car pileup, and another person died after his car overturned in the Dallas-area town of Arlington, officials said.
And while Thursday is expected to bring some relief from the deadly storm as temperatures slowly rise, the buildup of multiple layers of ice and hail has snapped tree limbs and limbs and led to power outages to more than 360,000 homes and businesses across the country. Texas. This means that thousands of people likely do not have adequate heating or hot water, as ice covers the ground.
By late Thursday night, an additional quarter-inch of ice could cover already slippery roads, particularly in central and northern Texas, southern Oklahoma and Arkansas.
“This will push the total ice buildup from the storm to more than 0.5” in many locations, which will increase the risk of significant tree damage and power outages, as well as dangerous and icy roads. Hail can also sometimes mix with freezing rain, which will increase the chances of icing on roads,” the National Weather Service said.
By late Thursday night, the Northeast could start to experience subzero temperatures from a separate winter storm, prompting officials in several states to announce preparations.
In Connecticut, the governor activated the state’s severe cold weather protocol from noon Thursday through the weekend.
“With the kind of severe cold weather that is coming, frostbite can develop on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes. Spending long periods outdoors in these conditions is not only harmful, but can be fatal,” said Gov. Ned Lamont.
The governor added that shelters and warming centers are available in Connecticut and transportation can be provided when needed.
Likewise, warm-up centers are expected to be available in Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont, officials said.
In Boston, the mayor declared a city cold emergency Friday through Sunday due to extremely cold weather.
“I urge all Boston residents to take precautions, stay warm and safe, and check in with your neighbors during this cold emergency,” said Mayor Michelle Wu.
More than 15 million people are expected to be under wind chill watch or alert in the Northeast starting Thursday night or Friday morning through at least Saturday afternoon.
The National Weather Service issues a wind chill alert when the air is expected to feel -25 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.
The impending wind chill warnings would apply to all of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, northern Connecticut, much of eastern and central New York and northeastern Pennsylvania.
“The air mass that descends in the area Friday through Friday night is the coldest air currently in the Northern Hemisphere,” warned the National Weather Service in Caribou, Maine.
Cold air heads to the Northeast on Thursday night and Friday, with the coldest period coming Friday night and Saturday morning like temperatures drop below zero.
The northern part of New England will see temperatures drop to 15 to 25 degrees below zero. Additionally, frigid temperatures will be accompanied by winds of 25 to 40 mph, making the air in areas as far south as New York City feel like -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Avoid any outdoor activities on Friday and Saturday! Cold temperatures combined with the wind chill factor can lead to potentially fatal conditions outdoors,” the New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management said in a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, upstate New York and northern New England will feel -35 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit, with some locations experiencing chills as low as 65 degrees below zero. These extreme conditions can cause frostbite in as little as five minutes.
The cold snap is expected to be brief, with temperatures rising across most of the region by Sunday afternoon.
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