Christmas blizzard, ice storm could leave thousands across US without power amid bitter cold
While an arctic blast plunges the eastern half of the country into a deep freeze, parts of the West Coast face the threat of a damaging ice storm.
Storms on either side of the country this week are threatening to leave thousands in the dark and bitter cold.
A powerful blizzard barreling across the eastern half of the U.S. is bringing all kinds of headaches, including rain, snow, damaging winds and an arctic blast. At the same time, an ice storm is threatening parts of the West Coast.
With the eastern storm, winds are forecast to howl at nearly 50 mph as the storm system bombs out while moving toward the Northeast. Gusts as high as 70 mph are not out of the question. All of this happens as temperatures plummet.
HOW TO STAY SAFE IF YOU’RE AFFECTED BY CRIPPLING POWER OUTAGES AFTER THE BLIZZARD
At that speed, winds will most likely take down some trees and power lines and create power outages from the Great Lakes into the Northeast. Widespread power outages are possible in western New York and a large swath of interior New England. The coasts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut also face the threat of widespread power outages.
In the West, both Ice Storm and Winter Storm warnings, as well as Winter Weather Advisories, are up across Washington state and Oregon. As much as a half-inch of ice could accrete from Portland north to near Seattle along the Interstate 5 corridor. An icy glaze that thick will certainly weigh down trees and power lines, which could lead to numerous power outages. Snow elsewhere in the region could also bring down trees and power lines.
HOW MUCH ICE IS NEEDED TO KNOCK OUT POWER, DAMAGE TREES?
Widespread outages are possible along the I-5 corridor between Eugene, Oregon, and Astoria, Washington. Another swatch of widespread power outages is possible from Bend to Hood River in Oregon and into southern Washington state.
Many cities offer warming centers for people who lose power during the extreme cold. Ensure both fireplaces and generators have proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Here's a look at the current number of power outages being reported across the country.