Stretching from New Mexico across the Midwest and up to Vermont in the Northeast, Winter Storm Landon is expected to stretch over 2,000 miles.
The biggest impact is expected in the South where a crippling ice storm could see icy roads and power outages as temperatures plunge.
The Midwest could also experience potentially the biggest snowfall in a century.
The National Weather Service (NWS) predicts that between eight and 14 inches of snow could fall in the region.
Along the warmer side of the storm, strong thunderstorms capable of damaging wind gusts and tornadoes were possible Thursday in parts of Mississippi and Alabama, the Storm Prediction Center said.
Tornado warnings were issued across multiple counties in Alabama on Thursday evening, due to high winds and pressure changes from the winter storm.
In some counties in the state, severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches remained in place through the night.
Read our Winter storm Landon live blog for the latest news and updates…
What is a winter weather advisory?
A winter weather advisory is an indication that winter weather conditions are likely.
However, the conditions expected are not severe enough to warrant a warning.
What is a winter weather watch?
A winter weather watch indicates that there is potential for severe winter weather.
If a winter weather watch is issued, prepare for dangerous weather conditions.
What is a winter weather warning?
A winter weather warning indicates that a storm is more than likely in your area, and you should take action immediately.
Expect dangerous conditions and try to avoid travel.
Winter storm deaths in 2020
According to Statista, six lives were claimed in 2020 from winter storms.
More people died that year from extreme cold, as 13 lives were lost.
How winter storms cause deaths
Most who die from winter storms are not killed by the weather itself.
A majority of the deaths are traffic accidents on icy roads.
Some also die from heart attacks while shoveling snow, and hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold weather.
Last year’s storms were deadly in Texas
The winter storms in Texas in 2021 proved very deadly for residents there.
A Department of State Health Services report on the freezing temperatures last year found that 246 deaths were caused, which spanned 77 counties, and those who died ranged from under 1-year-old to 102 years old.
Nearly two-thirds of the deaths were due to hyperthermia, the Texas Tribune reported.
Don’t seek refuge in your car
Even though it may function as a temporary shelter from a winter storm, you should avoid waiting out winter conditions in your car.
“Sheltering in a trapped vehicle can be dangerous,” experts at The Weather Channel explained.
A car’s metal frame creates “a very frigid situation,” and regulating temperature inside the car can be tricky.
Running your engine may not be a safe solution, either.
“Only do so if you know that you can keep the exhaust pipe clear,” The Weather Channel’s winter safety video explains.
“Snow and slush buildup around the pipe can block the exhaust and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Why should you warm up slowly?
Even though it’s tempting to hop into a hot bath, sauna or jacuzzi after coming in from the cold, you may be putting yourself at risk.
“Exposure to intense heat is not a way to treat hypothermia,” The Weather Channel warned.
“If you soak in a jacuzzi it can be very painful for your skin, and even cause a heart attack.”
Try heating up after extreme cold exposure by applying warm washcloths to the body, or using strategically-placed hot water bottles.
Swap alcohol for hot chocolate
“Alcohol doesn’t actually make you warm,” The Weather Channel noted in a video.
“It can cause you to feel warm by moving blood to the top of the skin, but taking that heat away from your core can be dangerous,” the experts at the channel explained.
Swap your alcoholic beverage for hot chocolate, which has more calories–essential for keeping your body healthy in chilly conditions–and will help raise your body temperature.
Drink water to stay safe
Drinking water in the winter is vital to your safety, The Weather Channel explained.
“You can still get dehydrated in the winter,” the outlet said in a video, but you’re less likely to realize it.
Dry winter air makes sweat evaporate more quickly, so you may not realize the severity of dehydration as quickly as in the summer months.
“Drink more water, especially when exercising outside,” The Weather Channel advised.
Be gentle with frostbitten skin
In a video, The Weather Channel explained why you shouldn’t rub frostbitten skin to warm it up.
“Your first instinct may be to rub your hands together to cause friction, but fight the urge,” the video advised.
Tiny ice crystals on your skin may tear and rip at the soft tissue, causing more damage.
The safer way to warm up is by gradually heating your skin, ideally using warm water.
Staying safe in winter storms
In a video posted to Twitter, The Weather Channel shared five tips for staying safe in winter.
- Don’t rub frostbitten skin
- Drink water
- Skip the booze
- Warm up slowly
- Vehicles may not be safe refuges
Snow comes back to New York State
After seeing snowfall and high winds during Winter Storm Kenan, some parts of New York, including Allegany and Buffalo, are seeing more snowfall from Winter Storm Landon.
What is a tornado warning?
A tornado warning is issued by local NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office meteorologists in an area where a tornado has been spotted.
Tornado warnings cover smaller areas, as they are only implemented in the actual case of severe weather.
A tornado warning indicates serious danger for those who are in the path of said tornado.
When one is made aware of a tornado warning, they should seek shelter immediately.
What is a tornado watch?
A tornado watch is typically issued hours in advance of an actual tornado. It means that weather conditions are favorable for a tornado to form, but one hasn’t been spotted yet.
The NOAA Storm Prediction Center issues a tornado watch during times when the weather conditions show a possibility of severe weather.
A tornado watch can cover part of a state or several states, depending on the severity of the weather.
One should be prepared to act while a watch is in progress, but it doesn’t always mean severe weather is coming.
Flights into Dallas-Fort Worth canceled
At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, teams are working to clear runways while airlines cancel flights into the airport.
“Just getting word that all scheduled inbound American Air flights TO DFW Airport the rest of tonight, will not come in,” wrote CBS11 reporter Doug Dunbar on Twitter.
“Major ramp issues with ice, and a temp now at 22 degrees. The American Airlines ramps are now closed for the night. Dangerous conditions.”
Southwest also reportedly canceled flights into Dallas Love Field Airport on Thursday night.
Texas sets up warming centers
Across Texas, warming centers are available to those who don’t have resources to stay safe through the winter storm.
Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke shared a thread to Twitter with resources for county and city warming centers.
🧵LOCAL WARMING CENTERS
Please help our fellow Texans by spreading the word about local warming centers across Texas.
Comment with information on additional resources in your community.
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) February 3, 2022
High winds can reportedly trigger migraines
When it’s blowing a gale outside, the body can react as if it is under attack and produce so-called fight or flight reflexes, such as raised heart rate and heightened emotions.
And high winds can also trigger a migraine.
One reason is the effect on the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that monitors the body’s functions; it can lead to constriction or swelling of the blood vessels in the head which can cause the pain associated with migraine.
Scientists at the University of Calgary in Canada looked at the links between migraine sufferers having an attack and the occurrence of Canadian ‘Chinook’ winds – warm westerly winds specific to Alberta, Canada, which have a definite onset time and are an indicator of profound weather change.
Of 75 patients studied, 32 were more likely to have migraines during Chinook weather conditions than on days without them.
Why joint pains can signal rain
Damp weather does seem to make joint pain and osteoarthritis worse.
While there is no conclusive evidence to explain this, it may be due to pressure receptors (baroreceptors) in the joint sensing the drop in atmospheric pressure when the weather changes from dry to rainy.
The level of fluid in the joint then fluctuates in response to these changes, which might trigger pain in the nerves.
Winter storm names
These are the names the Weather Channel chose for winter storms during the 2021 to 2022 season:
Severe tornado damage in Alabama
In Hale County, Alabama, at least four were injured following a tornado.
Local station WVTM13 reports four were injured at a location on Highway 30, and homes along Highway 14 at Coleman Road were badly damaged.
‘People shouldn’t let their guard down’
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service told Cleveland.com on Thursday morning that the worst snow the Northeast Ohio region could expect was still on the way.
Snow in the region is likely to be in the 4 to 8-inch range on Thursday.
“We (NWS) emphasized that we would have the heaviest snow today for this storm system,” Jaszka said.
“People should not let their guard down if you do have to travel today. Give yourself extra time and leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.”
NWS urges drivers to ‘slow down’
While retweeting a video of a car spinning out on the highway in Austin, the National Weather Service out of Austin/San Antonio urged drivers to take it easy during the winter weather on Twitter.
“Roads were mostly wet this AM, but as temperatures continue to fall, roads will become increasingly treacherous,” the agency wrote.
“Please stay off the roads unless you absolutely have to travel. If you do have to travel, slow down and give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination.”
Roads were mostly wet this AM, but as temperatures continue to fall, roads will become increasingly treacherous. Please stay off the roads unless you absolutely have to travel. If you do have to travel, slow down and give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination. https://t.co/xyIOOIEgvc
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) February 3, 2022
Austin first responders get hundreds of calls
First responders in Austin, Texas, responded to nearly 300 incidents in a 24-hour period ending Thursday morning, the agency said, according to the Weather Channel.
Those calls included 45 traffic crashes with injuries, 17 fires, and five reports of “arcing wires.”
Arkansas state offices closed by governor
Governor Asa Hutchinson closed all state office buildings on Thursday afternoon except for critical operations, a press release noted.
“Due to poor road conditions in many areas of the state, Governor Asa Hutchinson has closed state office buildings except for critical operations today, Thursday, February 3, 2022,” the statement began.
“State employees who can telework should do so, and Cabinet Secretaries may implement liberal leave policies for their employees who cannot telework. Citizens should utilize virtual services or delay their in-person visit until offices reopen.”
The press release added that state employees outside the impacted areas should contact a supervisor for further instructions.
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