A deadly winter storm slammed the Southwest on Saturday, bringing heavy rain, winds and sleet to parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The storm caused hundreds of rollover accidents along soaked highways and streets and is marching eastward, bringing snow, gusty winds and freezing temperatures.
The storm, which came down from the Arctic, hit California on Thursday and Friday, drenching the high deserts. Three deaths were linked to the storm in California. According to the Associated Press, rescue teams found one body near downed power lines. One woman was killed when a tree fell over onto her parked vehicle, and another man was killed when he crashed his car into a tree. The storm is now barreling east and is expected to reach the Atlantic by midweek, possibly hampering millions of people's Thanksgivsing travel plans.
The "Nordic outbreak" will "produce a mixed bag of wily weather that will end up impacting much of the nation,” said Joe Harris, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, according to AP.
On Sunday, weather advisories were still in effect for Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. And in the East, the outcome is just as bleak. USA Today reported that the winter storm brought biting winds and bitter cold temperatures to much of the Northeast, where many areas experienced wind chills in the teens. Boston and New York City experienced temperatures below freezing.
"We are forecasting a high of 31 degrees in New York City today, where the normal high for this time is 51 degrees," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said, according to USA Today. "Even the normal high for January is 38 degrees. It feels like we're in the middle of winter and it's not even Thanksgiving."
AAA projects nearly 44 million travelers during the Thanksgiving holiday, with Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, being the busiest day of travel. Nearly 90 percent of holiday travelers plan to travel by car.
Travelers face a dangerous road ahead. AccuWeather reported that on Tuesday, heavy rain will spread across the South, pouring buckets over the Carolinas and along the I-95, the main highway on the East Coast that runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean. The extreme winter weather is expected to slow traffic and delay a number of flights.
"The potential exists for a foot of snow to fall from Bradford, Pa., to Burlington, Vt.," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak said.
A statement from the National Weather Service’s field office in New Jersey warned Saturday that "travel conditions will deteriorate Tuesday night as strong onshore winds and rain move into the region. These conditions will persist into daytime Wednesday, improving later Wednesday night.”
Experts predict coastal flooding will be a problem on Wednesday along parts of the Eastern Seaboard. Snow is also possible.