Winter Storms Hit Over 40 States, Causing Blizzard, Tornado and Flood Alerts

Winter Storms Hit Over 40 States
Winter Storms Hit Over 40 States - Getty Images

Blizzard warnings in the West and the Plains

A series of winter storms are sweeping across the country, affecting more than 40 states from Washington to Massachusetts. The storms have dumped up to 18 inches of snow in some areas, causing travel disruptions and power outages.

Nine states in the West and the Plains are under blizzard warnings on Monday, as the storm will bring strong winds and heavy snow to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. The blizzard conditions could reduce visibility to near zero and create life-threatening wind chills.

Snow and ice in the Midwest and the Great Lakes

The snow will move eastward on Monday night into Tuesday, reaching the Midwest and the Great Lakes region. Chicago, Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin, are expected to see several inches of snow and ice, which could make driving hazardous and delay flights.

Tornadoes and flash flooding in the South

Meanwhile, the South is facing a different threat from the same storm system: tornadoes and flash flooding. The Gulf Coast, from Texas to Florida, is under a severe weather alert on Monday, with the potential for damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes. New Orleans to Pensacola, Florida, are in the bull’s-eye, but tornadoes are also possible in Houston.

A tornado watch was issued for parts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi until 9 p.m. local time. Schools in some Louisiana parishes will close early on Monday due to the looming severe weather.

On Tuesday, the tornado threat will shift to the Southeast, including Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Cities such as Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston and Charlotte could see strong storms and possible twisters.

Flooding in the Northeast

The Northeast will also feel the impact of the storm on Tuesday, but in the form of flooding. A warm front will bring heavy rain and mild temperatures to the region, from Virginia to Maine, especially along the Interstate 95 corridor. The rain could cause urban and river flooding, as well as landslides.

The flooding risk is exacerbated by the snow melt from this weekend’s storm, which dropped up to a foot of snow in some areas. The rapid runoff could overwhelm the drainage systems and cause water levels to rise quickly.