‘Once in a generation’ storm to strike US after historic one-hour temperature drop

A “once in a generation” winter storm is expected to strike the US, causing travel chaos as families embark on their Christmas holidays. More than a foot of snow and “life-threatening” wind chills are forecast, with blizzard warnings in place for the Midwest.

A winter weather alert stretches 37 states – including southern regions such as Texas – affecting around 60 million.

The National Weather Service’s said New York state will see rare wind gusts after already being rocked by lake effect snow.

“This once-in-a-generation storm will produce high winds east of Lake Ontario Thursday night into Friday morning, then over a larger coverage of our region Friday into Saturday”, the meteorologists said.

“Winds could gust over 65mph, leading to at least scattered power outages, if not widespread outages.”

NWS also issued an advisor warning residents in the city of Buffalo of a “rapid switch from rain to snow with sharply falling temperatures into the teens and single digits” that “will result in a flash freeze on Friday”.

More than 59 million people, including most of Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota as well as eastern areas of Ohio, have been placed under winter storm warnings.

A further seven million have been alerted to blizzards, while 57 million are under wind chill warnings, including Washington state in the west and Texas in the south, the NWS said.

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Across parts of the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, winter storm warnings, wind chill warnings and winter weather advisories were in effect.

The NWS has issued a winter storm watch for over 40 million in the North Central US, including Chicago.

Blizzard conditions are likely to unfold across the Midwest on Thursday in areas including Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois, according to AccuWeather.

And, by Friday, the forecaster added heavy rain drenching a melting snowpack may trigger flooding concerns across the Northeast.

Alex Sosnowski,& Courtney Travis, AccuWeather senior meteorologists, said the winter storm is expected to evolve into bomb cyclone as it produces a blizzard in Midwest.

They said the “strengthening storm” will emerge from the Rockies Wednesday night, with snow first falling “across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Nebraska before it spreads southward”.

Blizzard warnings were issued for southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and the western portion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

Further south, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency for the state’s 77 counties, telling residents to stay inside during the storm.