60 Million Americans Under Weather Alert as Winter Storm Moves Through Midwest

by Courtney Blackann
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If you’re one of the 60 million people about to be impacted by a heavy winter storm, you may want to run to the grocery store while you still can. A new winter weather alert went out Friday warning that millions of people throughout the Midwest and East could lose power in what scientists dubbed Winter Storm Izzy.

On Friday, officials warned that North Dakota to Georgia and eastern Pennsylvania will all see parts of the storm roll through. Then on Saturday and Sunday, it will head south to Nashville, Memphis, and Atlanta before hitting in Charlottesville, North Carolina.

AccuWeather calls the major storm a “Saskatchewan screamer.” The storm is expected to heavily delay traffic and even block major roadways. People traveling ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day are encouraged to change their plans in order to avoid being stranded, per USA Today.

The National Weather Service announced that ice in particular is a major concern. They warned of downed trees and power outages where the storm will hit hardest.

Further, regions where the Appalachian Mountains stretch could see as much as 18 inches of snow.

But one of the areas with the best chance for heavy snowfall is through Virginia up to Boson, Mass. on Interstate 95 – a region that just saw one of the worst traffic jams as storms left people stranded in their cars for more than 24 hours.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Friday following the storm announcement.

Winter Storm Readiness

Though officials are urging people to avoid traveling if at all possible, The National Weather Service has a list of items that people can keep in their cars in case of an emergency. You can view the items listed below.

  • Mobile phone, charger, batteries
  • Blankets/sleeping bags
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Knife
  • High-calorie, non-perishable food
  • Extra clothing to keep dry
  • Large empty can to use as emergency toilet, tissues, toilet paper and paper towels
  • Small can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water
  • Sack of sand or cat litter for traction
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper and brush
  • Tool kit
  • Tow rope
  • Battery booster cables
  • Water container
  • Candle and matches to provide light and in an emergency, lifesaving heat.
  • Compass and road maps, don’t depend on mobile devices with limited battery life

Additionally, the website provides more information about heavy snowfall and storms and what to do to be prepared.

“Heavy snow can immobilize a region and paralyze a city, stranding commuters, closing airports, stopping the flow of supplies, and disrupting emergency and medical services. The weight of snow can cause roofs to collapse and knock down trees and power lines. Homes and farms may be isolated for days and unprotected livestock may be lost. In the mountains, heavy snow can lead to avalanches. The cost of snow removal, repairing damages, and the loss of business can have severe economic impacts on cities and towns.”

Outsider.com