Missouri and Illinois announced emergency plans. New Mexico, Texas and other areas unaccustomed to snow and freezing wind chills are bracing for days of frigid weather.
A blustery winter storm is expected to sweep through nearly 2,000 miles of the central United States starting on Tuesday evening, bringing a mix of freezing temperatures, heavy snow and potentially hazardous traveling conditions from parts of New Mexico and Texas up through Illinois and Michigan, weather officials said.
Governors in Missouri and Illinois announced emergency plans on Tuesday ahead of the storm’s arrival.
Gov. Mike Parson of Missouri declared a state of emergency and noted that more than half of the state was already under a Winter Storm Warning, with parts of central Missouri possibly getting eight to 15 inches of snow.
“Severe winter weather isn’t something we are strangers to,” he said in a statement. “But we must be prepared for the worst.”
In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he had activated about 130 National Guard members to help respond to the storm, which he said could bring as much as 20 inches of snow to the central part of the state and create blizzard and white out conditions on some roadways.
“At home, make sure that your household has the essentials: food, water, medicine,” Mr. Pritzker said. “Do not travel or drive if you can avoid doing so.”
At various times through this week, a winter storm watch is forecast to be in effect from central New Mexico up through northern Vermont. .
Parts of New Mexico are expected to get as much as 14 inches of snow — most on Wednesday night — and some lower-lying areas will remain below freezing from Tuesday night through Friday or Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. By Friday morning, the temperatures in parts of eastern New Mexico could feel like 20 to 25 degrees below zero, with the wind chill factor, said Brian Guyer, a meteorologist with the Weather Service.
“It’s uncommon for us to have the combination of snow with the temperatures that we’re expected to see” in New Mexico, Mr. Guyer said.
In addition, other parts of the United States unaccustomed to such wintry weather, like central Texas, are once again bracing for snow and freezing wind chills. Extreme cold exposure from an icy storm in February 2021, during which temperatures in Austin, Texas, were lower than those in Anchorage, Alaska, was the direct cause of 148 deaths in Texas, according to a year-end report by the state.
Some freezing rain and ice accumulation are expected by Wednesday evening in parts of Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding areas, the Weather Service office there said on Monday. Starting Wednesday morning, wind chills are expected to make the Fort Worth area feel as if it’s 10 degrees below zero, Monique Sellers, a meteorologist with the Weather Service there, said.
“That wind chill is going to make it pretty dangerous for anyone who is outside for any amount of time,” mainly during the overnight and early hours, she said. Downed trees and power outages are expected northeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including in McKinney, Sherman and Paris, when the brunt of the storm is expected to hit late Wednesday evening, the Weather Service said.
The unusually cold weather expected in central Texas is a result of a cold system from the Arctic interacting with warmer air carrying large amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, “and it is colliding right over us,” Ms. Sellers said.
A winter storm warning will be in effect for eastern parts of Oklahoma as well as west-central Arkansas, from noon on Wednesday through midnight Thursday, according to the Weather Service. Gusty winds and ice accumulations could lead to power outages throughout the area, according to the warning.
The Tulsa metro area could see up to six inches of snow, according to Michael Bowlan, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in the area. Mr. Bowlan said that although this storm would not be as cold or long as the one in February 2021, people should still take precautions, like avoiding unnecessary travel, if possible.
In Pueblo, Colo., the wind chill could make it feel as low as 20 degrees below zero along the southern Interstate 25 corridor in Fremont County and Wet Mountain Valley areas, the Weather Service said on Monday.
Two or three waves of snowfall starting on Tuesday are expected to ultimately bring four to five inches of snow in south-central and eastern Kansas, and as much as a foot of snow in far eastern Kansas, according to Kevin Darmofal, a meteorologist in the state with the Weather Service.
Winds up to 20 to 30 miles per hour on Wednesday night could complicate snow removal efforts in Kansas, Mr. Darmofal said. Those winds “will cause blowing and drifting snow,” which will also make traveling more difficult, he said.
Northern Indiana is expected to get more than a foot of snow mainly landing late Wednesday morning, according to the Weather Service. The affected areas include Crawfordsville and Kokomo in the northwest up through Monticello, Fort Wayne and the Three Rivers area in the northeast, according to the Weather Service.
The snow is expected to come mainly in two waves lasting about 48 hours in total, according to Mark Frazier, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in northern Indiana. “A typical storm is 12 to 16 hours,” he said.
In Illinois, north of O’Hare International Airport may see only an inch or two of snow but the South Side and nearby suburbs could get eight to 12 inches, Casey Sullivan, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in the state said.
In Michigan, nine to 16 inches of snow is expected, starting around 2 a.m. on Wednesday through 11 p.m. on Thursday, and a winter storm warning will be in effect at that time in several counties, including Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Jackson Counties, the Weather Service announced.
“This will be a prolonged period of snow,” the Weather Service warned residents in those areas. The precipitation will start as rain late Tuesday and turn into snow later, with the heaviest snowfall expected by Wednesday afternoon, the Weather Service said. By early Thursday morning, “it could be snowing nearly an inch an hour,” it said.
It’s the latest winter storm to hit the United States this year. A snowstorm over the weekend from North Carolina to New England dumped nearly two feet of snow in Boston, tying a single-day record set in 2003.
The heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures in Boston mean snow removal efforts will “continue for days ahead,” Jascha Franklin-Hodge, the city’s chief of streets, said.