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Polar vortex
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:35 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Winter storm hits U.S. South with rare snowfall
January 6, 2017

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A storm packing heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain hit the U.S. South on Friday, bringing winter weather to a region unaccustomed to it and leading to traffic snarls and widespread school closures.

As much as 8 inches (20 cm) of snow and 1 inch (3 cm) of sleet was expected to fall on a large swath of the United States from northeast Louisiana to southern Pennsylvania, according to the National Weather Service.

The service issued winter storm warnings stretching from Louisiana, across the South and into the East Coast. Police from Oklahoma and Arkansas reported scores of accidents on roads where a few inches of snow had fallen.

"If you don't have to travel, don't travel," said Matthew Grantham, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Alabama. Conditions will worsen after dusk on Friday, he added.

The heaviest snowfall was expected for Friday night into Saturday with southern Virginia and north-central North Carolina being the hardest-hit areas, the service said.

Ahead of the winter storm, Atlanta residents packed into stores to stock up on essentials.

“I shouldn’t have waited to the last minute,” said Showanda Torres, 29, of the East Atlanta Village neighborhood, as she pushed her 3-year-old son in a shopping cart at a grocery store.

"The shelves are getting picked clean," she said.

The storm also affected U.S. air travel. As of 2:30 p.m., there were about 370 flight cancellations at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the nation's busiest, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.

City officials called for staggered departures to avoid Friday evening traffic congestion. Schools were asked to release students at lunchtime.

The move followed a disastrous response to winter weather in January 2014, when thousands of commuters sat in gridlock for hours on frozen highways around Atlanta and many children were stuck at schools.

States of emergency were declared for 79 counties in Georgia and all of Alabama. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson shut state offices for non-essential personnel.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also declared a state of emergency as the storm is expected to bring significant snowfall to his state, particularly in the central region.

The hazardous weather has forced the postponement of ceremonial inauguration events scheduled this weekend for Cooper, who has already taken office.

"The number one thing is making sure the people of North Carolina are safe," Cooper told a news conference on Friday morning. "You can do that by staying home."
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Springlike warmth to challenge records across eastern US next week

It will feel more like spring across part of the eastern United States next week as temperatures briefly soar to record-challenging levels.

Residents from Atlanta to Nashville to Washington, D.C., will trade in winter coats for t-shirts by midweek.

A major storm will take shape over the center of the country by Tuesday. Unseasonable warmth will then build on the southeastern side of the storm.

“Even though Punxsutawney Phil called for six more weeks of winter, to many in the Southeast it will feel more like mid-April than early February for a brief period next week,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts said.  

Tuesday is shaping up to be the warmest day of the stretch, when records that have held since the 1900s could be in jeopardy throughout the Southeast.

“Throughout Maryland and Virginia, high temperatures on Tuesday will reach upwards of 15 degrees above average,” Eherts said. “Farther south, they may exceed 20 degrees above average.”

Widespread highs in the middle to upper 70s F are in store across the Deep South, with 60s and lower 70s in store for much of the Ohio Valley and southern mid-Atlantic.

“Temperatures will soar into the 60s as far north as Washington, D.C,” Eherts said.

A few of the cities that will challenge record warmth include New Orleans; Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta; Jacksonville and Pensacola, Florida; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Nashville; and Washington, D.C.

The bulk of the warmth will fail to reach much of the interior Northeast and New England, where periods of snow and ice can occur early next week.

Most of Tuesday will be dry and sunny across the southern Atlantic Seaboard, which is great news for those who hope to enjoy the brief spurt of warmth by hiking, biking or walking.

Behind the passage of rain and thunderstorms late Tuesday and Wednesday, warmth will be whisked away and temperatures will fall back to within a few degrees of average across the Southeast.

The brunt of the chill will sweep across the Midwest and Northeast late next week as temperatures plummet to unseasonably low levels.

Temperatures may rebound once again across the Southeast and perhaps the mid-Atlantic as quickly as next weekend.

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