Midwest on High Alert for Blizzard, Southern States to be Pounded by Severe Storms

**Midwest Braces for Blizzard, Southern States Prepare for Severe Storms**

***The Midwest and Great Lakes brace for a blizzard***

The Midwest and Great Lakes regions are on high alert as a relentless weather pattern is set to unleash blizzard conditions on Friday and into the holiday weekend. Forecasters have issued warnings of “life-threatening winter weather” with heavy snow and white-out conditions expected, accompanied by wind chills as low as minus 45 degrees. These extreme wind chills can lead to frostbite on exposed skin within minutes. Nearly 30 million people in the Midwest and around the Great Lakes are under a winter storm warning, with over three and a half million people in the region under a blizzard warning. This Arctic outbreak will bring below-average high temperatures and freezing low temperatures to every state across the contiguous United States by early next week.

The snow has already started falling over Chicago and Des Moines, with overnight snowfall rates of about one inch per hour creating reduced visibility and hazardous roads. Heavy snow showers are expected to continue into Saturday, bringing accumulations of more than a foot in some parts of Wisconsin and Michigan, along with gusty winds of up to 50 miles per hour that will create blizzard conditions. Once the system begins moving out of the area, cold and gusty northwesterly winds will rush over the Great Lakes, triggering lake-effect snow in areas downwind of the lakes. Snow showers will then move east into the Interior Northeast and northern New England.

***The South and East prepare for more severe storms***

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In addition to the blizzard conditions in the Midwest, the South and East are bracing themselves for more severe storms. Parts of Alabama and Mississippi are under an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms, with the possibility of tornadoes, while a larger area that includes the rest of those states and the Carolinas, the Florida Panhandle, and Georgia face a slight risk. Severe thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds up to 75 mph and a few tornadoes are possible, with the greatest chance of severe wind gusts from central and northern Mississippi into northwest Alabama.

Forecasters have warned of sustained winds of about 30 mph in the Jackson, Miss., area, which could potentially take down trees and power lines, making travel difficult for high-profile vehicles. A similar warning has been issued from the Weather Service office in Huntsville, Ala., where residents have been advised to be cautious with alternative heat sources in the event of power disruptions.

***Polar plunge dips to the Gulf Coast***

Arctic air has begun plunging southward out of Canada, bringing the coldest air of the season and dropping temperatures to minus 26 degrees early Friday morning. The Northern Plains will experience below-zero temperatures into next week, with highs only reaching the single digits for the Central Plains by Saturday.

The widespread, gusty winds will make it even more dangerous to be outside, as the wind chill will make it feel considerably colder and potentially lead to frostbite in a matter of minutes. Hundreds of daily cold weather records are in jeopardy through early next week as the surge of cold air brings freezing temperatures down through the Deep South and near the Gulf Coast. Along the edge of the cold, there is uncertainty about where, what type, and when snow or ice could fall across the South and into the Mid-Atlantic.

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As severe weather systems continue to impact different regions across the United States, residents in the Midwest, Great Lakes, South, and East need to prepare for the potentially life-threatening conditions. It is crucial to stay updated on weather forecasts and advisories, take necessary precautions, and adhere to any evacuation or safety protocols issued by local authorities.


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