|Teresa Goodson walks to work in ski goggles in downtown St. Paul during the first snowstorm of the season on Nov. 10, 2014.(Photo: Leila Navidi, AP)|
Temperatures only made it into the single digits, teens and 20s Tuesday across much of the north-central U.S. — 20 to 40 degrees below average for many areas, the National Weather Service said.
Wind chills were as cold as minus 20 in parts of western Montana. By Wednesday morning, wind chills could drop to minus 35 in some spots — low enough to cause frostbite in 10 minutes.
|Source AccuWeather, As of Nov. 10.(Photo: Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY)|
|SOURCE AccuWeather, As of Nov. 10.(Photo: Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY)|
Weather service meteorologist Paul Kocin said the cold air will reach the Appalachians to mid-South by Wednesday morning and then hit the East Coast by Thursday morning. The East Coast will see cooler temperatures but be spared from the dramatic lows in the middle of the country, Kocin said.
Freezing temperatures are still possible in parts of the South and East, AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
By Monday afternoon, areas of northwest Montana saw 14 inches of snow; parts of North Dakota saw as much as 8 inches.
The heaviest snow fell across Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Ishpeming in northern Michigan picked up 24.5 inches of snow as of late Tuesday afternoon, the highest total from the storm so far, according to the weather service.
WATCH: Minneapolis already covered in snow.
Marquette, Mich., got socked with 21.5 inches of snow so far, creating treacherous driving conditions.
At least two people were killed in Minnesota on icy roads, the Minnesota State Patrol said.
In Minnesota alone, there were reports of more than 180 weather-related crashes during the morning commute, including a 16-car pileup in Duluth, CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas reported.
"It's really bad," said Jonie Magnant, who works at a Walgreens in Marquette. "There are thick, whiteout conditions," she said.
Top snowfalls in other states included 18 inches in Mellen, Wis.; 16.5 inches in Cambridge and St. Augusta, Minn., and 14 inches in Whitefish, Mont.
St. Cloud, Minn., got 13.2 inches of snow Monday, breaking the all-time November calendar-day record of 12 inches set on Nov. 21, 1898.
Richard Anderson, a professional holiday decorator who was working on some small trees outside the Seven Steakhouse in Minneapolis, was downcast about the snow.
"It's wet, cold, sticks to you," Anderson said. "It's freezing on your jacket as it's raining. What do you call it?
Rain, sleet and snow. And it's bitter. It's really bitter. It's not very nice."
By Wednesday temperatures will be in the teens and single digits in Washington state and Oregon.
Snow was welcome in northern Wyoming, where firefighters were battling to contain a late wildfire.
Firefighters struggled with the blaze west of Buffalo, and by Sunday evening it had burned almost 2 square miles. Then came the arctic front, with snow and temperatures plunging from the 60s on Sunday to single digits by Monday morning.
“That’s the best fire control you can have is Mother Nature,” said John Garman, a firefighter with Johnson County.
|A Duluth, Minn. resident shovels the snow from in front of a vehicle, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, following the season's first measurable snowfall |
on Monday. Some areas of Minnesota recorded over one foot of snow. (AP Photo/WDIO-TV, Carl Sauer)
The National Weather Service has issued Wind Chill Warnings and Advisories for Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle through 10 AM Wednesday.
As the polar airmass continues to surge southward, temperatures will fall below zero and winds will be breezy from the north at 5-15 MPH. This will send wind chill values as low as -35° over the Laramie Valley and down to -25° across the rest of the region.
With wind chill values as low as -35°, frostbite could set in within 5 to 10 minutes of exposure.
Arctic air continues to surge into the central U.S. on Tuesday. The cold wave will continue to slide south and east over the next couple of days, finally reaching the Deep South and East Coast by Thursday. VPC
Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing for nearly two weeks in the Upper Midwest, Minneapolis included.
READY. SET. WAIT.
If you’re flying in the coming days, expect some delays. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport estimated roughly one-third of its arrivals and departures would be canceled by the end of Monday.
As far as driving, if you must do it in snow and sleet, be prepared: Have a full tank of gas, an emergency kit and exercise caution. Wind-blown snow can make it difficult to see, and ice underneath can make driving slippery.
Dangerously low wind chill values can threaten livestock and pets when left outdoors. Frostbite and hypothermia can develop in less than 10 minutes with wind chill values near 40 below in some read.
“It’s part of being in South Dakota,” said Nancy Miller, a manager at Mid-America Travel Plaza in Belle Fourche. “It’s just the topic of the day. It’s the first snowstorm of the season.”
The wintry blast stirred fears of a repeat of last year’s bitter season, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration doesn’t expect it. Federal forecasters have predicted this winter will be fairly average.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be cold, and other private weather forecasters are predicting a slightly cooler winter than NOAA.
This week’s storm is part of a powerful system being pushed in by the remnants of Typhoon Nuri that hit Alaska’s sparsely populated Aleutian Islands.
Unlike chilly air episodes thus far this season, this particular cold outbreak will have staying power and is likely to last well into next week.
- USA Today | CBS Seattle | AccuWeather | KGWN | Local News 8.