NEW YORK (Reuters) – The holiday weekend brought dangerously freezing temperatures to much of the United States, upending everything from political campaigns to soccer games and travel.
An arctic blast seeping into the country from Canada has caused temperatures to plummet across a wide swath of the country, from the Pacific Northwest to the Rust Belt, the US National Weather Service (NWS) said. in its Sunday morning bulletin.
“To underscore how intense this blast of Arctic air is, more than 95 million citizens are under a wind chill warning, advisory or watch as of midnight tonight,” the agency said.
On Sunday, temperatures could be among the coldest in states like Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. There, meteorologists predict wind chills as low as -70 degrees Fahrenheit (-57 Celsius).
In Iowa, a powerful snowstorm put the brakes on the constantly churning political campaign machine as Republicans vying for the 2024 presidential bid canceled their events due to bad weather.
Snow piled up on the side of every road in Des Moines, the center of the Iowa caucuses frenzy, has rendered political signs virtually useless.
Reporters spotted a van full of signs touting Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, covered in snow and with nowhere to go, sitting outside the hotel where the Florida governor is staying.
David Barker, treasurer of the Iowa Republican Party, said the brutal temperatures forecast for Monday could test even the most weather-resistant Iowans.
“Iowans are pretty good at handling cold and snow, so I think we’ll see a good turnout, although the weather may reduce turnout somewhat. This could end up being a test of the engagement of candidate supporters,” Barker said.
The cold’s grip on Iowa is not expected to ease until next week, with wind chills of around -40 Fahrenheit (-40 Celsius) expected across the state “at least through Tuesday,” a the NWS office in Des Moines said in a message. on X.
The winter storm swept through the Midwest on Saturday, knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes. More than 51,000 customers were without power in Michigan and more than 35,000 in Wisconsin as of Sunday morning.
Severe weather also affected the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Northeast United States this weekend. The city of Portland, Oregon, usually more accustomed to rain, was hit by snow, ice and high winds that downed trees and knocked out power to more than 150,000 customers. Local firefighters and media reported at least two weather-related deaths.
Thousands of flights were canceled across the country over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend due to severe weather conditions.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a travel ban to Erie County on Saturday and the National Football League postponed the Pittsburgh Steelers-Buffalo Bills game until Monday due to the expected blizzard.
Forecasters are expecting dangerous winter weather across the central and southern United States on Sunday, bringing a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.
(Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal and Gabriella Borter in Des Moines, Iowa; Editing by Mark Porter)
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