Massive Winter Storm Hits Central and Southern US

A massive winter storm system has hit the central and Southern US today, with winter weather advisories affecting more than 13 million people from northern Nevada to northeastern Montana, and east to Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service. Blizzard warnings have been issued in the central and Northern Plains as icy weather and rain continue to pummel the Upper Midwest. Along the Gulf Coast, severe tornadoes are expected.

The storm, which pummeled the West over the weekend, is expected to pick up strength today as it heads eastward, where it will stall across the Plains into Thursday. Travel will be limited amid the snow and freezing rain, and multiple highways may become impassible. 

Ice storm warnings were issued for parts of eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, and western Iowa. According to forecasters, up to two-tenths of an inch of ice could accumulate in the affected regions, with two feet of snow anticipated for southwest South Dakota and northeast Nebraska. 

“Please really evaluate which travels during your normal day are necessary and which ones can wait till this passes,” police in Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s largest city, warned. All state offices have been ordered closed for Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the southern tail of the storm is expected to batter the Gulf with late-season tornadoes and strong thunderstorms. Around 25 million people from Texas to Mississippi are under threat of severe weather Tuesday, including high winds and large hail.  

A tornado watch is in effect Tuesday morning for parts of Texas and southern Oklahoma until 11 a.m. CT. The primary threats are tornadoes, hail and dangerous wind gusts up to 70 mph.

An alert for enhanced risk of severe weather – level 3 of 5 – was issued Tuesday for eastern Texas and the lower Mississippi River Valley, with the main threats including more powerful tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail. Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and Lafayette, Louisiana, as well as Jackson, Mississippi, are all included in the affected area. 
To learn more about the trajectory of this storm and associated weather alerts, visit the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

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