The U.S. is experiencing its coldest Christmas in four decades, with temperatures plummeting across the continent on Thursday.
A “bomb cyclone” is expected to evolve by Friday, bringing a “once-in-a-generation” temperature drop eastwards from the Pacific Northwest, according to the BBC. More than 90 million people across 37 states are already under a variety of winter weather warnings. Overall, 80% of the American population faces sub-zero temperatures.
The Weather Channel dubbed the event “Winter Storm Elliot,” which will deliver the coldest arctic blast since the late 1980s, the BBC noted. Even parts of Florida and Texas — typically milder climates — will see the coldest Christmas in 30 years.
😱 OMG! This is the view of state troopers driving in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It’s already subzero temps there. The National Weather Service reminds us: “This is not your ordinary cold front.” 🥶
📹: Wyoming Highway Patrol pic.twitter.com/i2R425DA7k
— John-Carlos Estrada (@Mr_JCE) December 22, 2022
“Wind chills of this magnitude can cause frostbite in less than five minutes if precautions are not taken, with hypothermia and death also possible from prolonged exposure to the cold,” the National Weather Service wrote in an advisory, noting that pressure build-ups in the Great Lakes region could reach the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.
Governors have declared states of emergency in Kentucky and North Carolina, with snowy conditions and frozen roadways expected to disrupt Christmas traffic through the holiday weekend, the BBC continued. Flight disruptions have already taken hold. Denver and Chicago area airports are canceling hundreds of flights as visibility issues continue to rise. (RELATED: Residents Of Chicago Told To Stay Inside Over Holiday Weekend)
A similar bomb cyclone hit the country in Jan. 2022, dropping temperatures some 10-20F below normal. The weather event is defined as a storm that intensifies rapidly with a central air pressure drop of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, the BBC noted.